LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Nearly two months after the devastating flooding in Eastern Kentucky, kids in Letcher and Knott Counties finally got to return to school this week. 

What You Need To Know

  • Students at a Hardin County middle school are working to support students across the state who were impacted by flooding in Eastern Kentucky

  • East Hardin Middle School’s Beta Club is collecting school supplies for Hindman Elementary in Knott County

  • 30 East Hardin students will also serve as pen pals to 30 Hindman students, and they’ll meet when the East Hardin group hand delivers the school supplies in October

  • East Hardin’s Beta Club is also working to raise $7,000 to send their new friends in eastern Kentucky to the state Beta Club convention in Lexington in January

At one school that got hit particularly hard by flooding in Knott County, students are getting a special surprise.

Hindman Elementary serves students in prekindergarten and K-8. Heavy mud destroyed much of the school following July flooding.

Beta Club students all the way across the state at East Hardin Middle School in Elizabethtown have been collecting needed school supplies that they’ll load up in a horse trailer and hand deliver to Hindman in a few weeks. Ahead of that, 30 students at East Hardin are being paired up as pen pals with 30 students in Beta Club at Hindman.

“They’ve been through a lot that, like, they would think of us as lucky because we have our stuff and we haven’t really been through natural disasters like they have,” said East Hardin 7th grader Lillian Baucum ahead of being assigned to a pen pal across the state. “I think I’ll ask them what they’ve been through and try to keep their mind off that and keep it like in a positive way, so they feel a little better about what they’re going through.”

East Hardin art teacher and Beta Club sponsor Molly Hazle is leading the pen pal and school supply drive efforts at her school. However, Hazle didn’t want to stop there.

She’s also working to raise $7,000 to send Hindman’s Beta Club students to the state convention in Lexington in January so they can get in on the fun with her students. It’s an opportunity Hazle says Hindman’s Beta Club has never been able to afford in the past.

“The whole world wants to give them things, and I thought ‘an experience.’ let’s take them away from this, from seeing the mud, and let’s like let them focus on something else. Let them prepare a project for a few months and get their minds out of this and give them an experience that our kids get every year,” Hazle said. “I mean, you look back on your life and you remember experiences.”

Beta Club teaches kids leadership skills and requires service hours. Hazle says this donation drive and fundraiser for Hindman Elementary falls right in line with that mission.

Anyone wanting to donate supplies or money to fund Hindman students’ trip to the state Beta Club convention can drop those items off at East Hardin Middle School directly. Checks or cash can also be mailed to the school. East Hardin Middle School’s address is 810 New Glendale Rd. Elizabethtown, KY, 42701.

The deadline for donations is Friday, Sept. 29.