Schoolteacher helps bring Christmas to less fortunate

Once again, donations are being sought for the “Christmas in Kentucky” program, established by St. Marys resident Laura Kuntz. For the past 16 years, Kuntz, a kindergarten teacher at St. Marys Catholic Elementary School, has been collecting Christmas gifts and making the 10-hour-trip to Beattyville, K.Y., in Lee County, where a local contact helps in distributing the donated gifts.Each year, Kuntz and a Kentucky-based social worker compile wish lists for numerous needy families. “This community works in spreading the joys of Christmas beyond the St. Marys area,” Kuntz said. She noted that she is grateful to the St. Marys area for their continued support of the project.According to Kuntz, the area she serves is among the top 10 poorest counties in the U.S. She added that it doesn't happen often for these children and adults to receive a new item.“I do all of my gift shopping here in the St. Marys area because I feel that the money should stay in our community to support our local businesses,” Kuntz said.Donations are being accepted until Thursday, Nov. 23, as Kuntz plans to finish up her shopping, in order to deliver the gifts the following weekend of Dec. 2-4.Any donations of brand-new items, including toys and clothes for children and adults, may be dropped off at the St. Marys Catholic Elementary School, as well as at Kuntz’s home at 586 Church St.