The Bluegrass Underground/ Cumberland Caverns Toy Drive for Warren County netted 154 toys for the Warren County Rescue Squad.
The event was organized by Kate Medley and Brian Sullivan, a member of the Bluegrass Underground team. Medley and Sullivan co-founded the “Love = Hope Benefit Jam.”
“We reached out to Robby Black, the general manager of Cumberland Caverns, about partnering up and doing a toy drive for the Warren County Rescue Squad,” said Sullivan. “We really wanted to give back to the community for six years of continued support of the show.”
Medley says the community showed its love.
“The toy drive was a complete success,” said Medley. “The support and love that was shown to our community was truly a blessing. To be an inaugural event, I had no clue what to expect. My heart is overjoyed by the love and support that was shown during the inaugural Bluegrass Underground/ Cumberland Caverns Toy Drive for Warren County.”
Along with toys, the drive collected $212 in cash and $100 in a PayPal account. While the account monies went directly to the Rescue Squad, cash donations turned Medley and Sullivan into elves for a day.
“We took all the cash that had been donated, $212, and we went shopping for toys,” said Medley. “We found some great deals at the local Dollar General where the toys were buy one and get one half off. It was amazing the number of toys we were able to collect with that money.”
The collecting of toys began just before Thanksgiving when Cumberland Caverns and Bluegrass Underground had Blue Sky Riders featuring Kenny Loggins, Georgia Middleman and Gary Burr at the cave. It ended Dec. 13 with a concert featuring the Manchester Orchestra.
As an incentive to donate toys, Cumberland Caverns donated three nights lodging at Bonnie Blue Inn Bed & Breakfast, which included breakfast for two each morning and dessert each evening. Bluegrass Underground donated a three-day VIP access pass for two to a Bluegrass Underground PBS taping at Cumberland Caverns from March 27-29, 2015.
Everyone who contributed to the toy drive was automatically entered for a chance to win. One name was drawn at random to be the winner of both incentives. Taking the prizes was Terry Johnson.
“We want to say thank you to all those whose donations helped bring smiles to children in need,” said Black. “We could not have done this without each and every one of you.”
Due to the success of this year’s toy drive, plans are to make this an annual event.