On July 30, McDonald's on Citizen's Lane held a fundraiser for a local family, giving them a percentage of all sales made between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. that day. In addition to the fundraiser, friends and family were outside the restaurant taking up donations at the drive-through.
Josh Baker, principal at RW Combs Elementary School, his wife Devina, their three children and their dog lost their house, all their belongings and two cats during a fire on July 5. To show support for the family, many community members rallied together at McDonald's during the fundraiser.
Two of Baker's RW Combs coworkers, Lula Gibson and Kelsey White, were among the many to attend the event and take up donations for the family.
“Since this tragedy has struck his family, everybody has tried to pitch in at the school and just coming out tonight (July 30) to try and help get his family back on their feet,” said White.
White continued, explaining that the number of people coming out and donating has been amazing to see.
You don't hear about people actually going out and working after hours for your principal, but he would be there for you. If something happened to one of his faculty members, he would be there,” White said. “It is a small town and everybody comes together.”
Gibson agreed, stating that the Bakers have been very generous to others, so it was nice to be able to return the favor.
“He's always helping everybody else around the school and in the community as well, and I just feel that it is fair that we help him and give back to him since he lost everything,” said Gibson.
Diana Patula, who co-owns both Hazard McDonald's restaurants and the Whitesburg one with her husband Ken Patula, said that although they are unsure of how many people attended the event, it was very successful.
“Since we've been doing fundraisers like these, this has been the most successful thus far,” said Patula. More than $1,700 was given to the Bakers through the fundraiser, she said.
Baker's school and other organizations are still taking up donations for the family. Items needed include: women's size eight pants, medium tops, size seven shoes; men's size 38 pants, extra large tops, size 13 shoes; little boy's sizes five-seven tops and bottoms, size 13 shoe; and boy's size 10-12 tops and pants and size 2/3 and six in shoes. If anyone wishes to donate to the Baker family, contact a member of the family or RW Combs Elementary School for more information.