One of the many buildings in Mayfield that were destroyed by an EF-4 hurricane on December 10 were the Court-appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Graves County and the Southwest Kentucky office. On Tuesday, a Texas-based charitable group dropped a truckload of supplies to provide clothing and gifts for children served by the regional CASA.
Members of the Cotton Foundation, the charitable arm of commercial restoration company Cotton Holdings, have delivered gifts and supplies, such as toys, new clothes and shoes, to give to families served by CASA in Graves County and southwestern Kentucky. Some of the donations will also benefit the children and families served by the Paducah-based Child Monitoring Counseling and Advocacy Centre.
Kelly Cox, volunteer coordinator with CASA in Graves County, said the organization serves about 65 children in Graves, Carlisle, Hickman and Fulton counties, many of whom live with foster families. CASA volunteers work with children who have been abused or neglected and advocate for their best interests in the courtroom.
Cox noted that none of the children the group serves were injured in the storm. Some of the biological families of children served by Casa Graves County have been affected, and Cox said three Casa volunteers have lost their homes and vehicles. She said these volunteers are the first to contact their children to make sure they are safe.
With the CASA Graves County office destroyed, Cox is storing plenty of donations from the Cotton Foundation in her garage, where advocates and volunteers will select gifts for children. She said receiving these donations from the Cotton Foundation helps provide gifts and toys for these children to open at Christmas.
“This company, it’s just a blessing,” Cox said. “They donated—everything new, of course—clothes, shoes, underwear, pajamas, bikes, bike helmets and every kind of toy you can imagine. They definitely blessed us.”
Paul Kirby, vice president of business development for Cotton Commercial USA, part of Cotton Holdings, was in Paducah to help offload donations at Child Watch and works in Mayfield with Cotton Holdings, which specializes in disaster relief and infrastructure support. Kirby said the Cotton Foundation had an employee volunteering with the CASA group in Texas who suggested that the foundation help the hurricane-affected CASA group in Kentucky.
Kirby said the Cotton Foundation often works with local groups in disaster-affected areas so that those groups can distribute the Foundation’s donations to people in need. He added that it was a good idea to help CASA in Graves County so they can meet needs throughout the year and help with donations that CASA may not have received. One of the best parts for him was knowing how well the volunteers knew the children they served, and even being able to choose specific gifts they knew some kids would love.
Cox said CASA Graves County’s number one goal is to make sure the kids have a merry Christmas. Next, the organization will assess where to go from there and where a new office for serving children and families can be built.
Cox said CASA advocates will be giving gifts to children they serve over the next few days to ensure they get them before Christmas.
The PayPal link to donate to CASA in Graves County to help provide services to children in need and to help CASA rebuild an office in Graves County is available at casagravesswky.org. Donations may also be mailed to the CASA of Graves County & Southwest KY at PO Box 5200 Mayfield, KY 42066.