In December 2021, a deadly tornado swept across Western Kentucky. It devastated homes and communities across five towns. Samaritan’s Feet wanted to do their part to help, and teamed up with a few very special partners to do so.

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“It’s hard to describe how devastating the tornadoes that hit Kentucky were.”

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear added, “but we’re going to get ourselves up, thanks to the help of some new shoes, and we’re going to move forward.”

On December 19, Samaritan’s Feet jumped into action alongside University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball Coach John Calipari. We packed a truck with over 10,000 pairs of shoes that would be distributed across five towns: Cadiz, Dawson Springs, Gilbertsville, Hardin, and Central City.

“Coach Cal is loved in this state” said Governor Beshear. So when Coach Cal called Governor Beshear to figure what they could do to lift people’s spirits in the Western Kentucky area, without being in the way of vital cleanup, Governor Beshear was thrilled. Together with Samaritan’s Feet, they were going to give new shoes to as many kids and adults as possible in the area, as they had just lost everything in their closets. And not only would these families and individuals receive a new pair of shoes, Samaritan’s Feet also wanted to give them a little bit of encouragement and love.

Governor Beshear recalls meeting a young boy who was living at the State Park, which was being used as a shelter for people whose homes had been destroyed. This boy had just been through a traumatic event, but when we pulled out those blue shoes, his eyes lit up. He stood up, smiled, and ran a lap. This kid, who just days before had been through something awful, and now he was having a pure moment of joy.


“To go from disaster to areas that need an outstretched arm and say ‘I know things have been tough, but let’s see what we can do,’ that’s special,” said Governor Beshear.

A few months later, Coach Cal and some of his basketball team members decided to surprise students in the Dawson Springs community. They walked into the high school gym and the students erupted in cheers. Today was going to be a special day for everyone.

Coach Cal addressed the students asking who had been impacted by the tornadoes, and hands went up throughout the room. Then, a Kentucky basketball player talked to the group saying, “the hardest thing to do is find light within darkness and you guys found a way to keep pushing.”

Coach Cal and his team were there to encourage these students, to be there if they needed it. And not only did they support them through their words, they also supported through their actions as the team washed the feet of these students and gave them a new pair of shoes.

Over the last few months, many new friendships were built in Western Kentucky. Samaritan’s Feet is so grateful to have been able to provide a platform to do so.


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