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Burglary doesnt stop Christmas for Brooks House

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By BEN DUDLEYThe Wilson Post

A family in Kentucky says thieves broke into their store and stole thousands of dollars worth of equipment and even gifts that were donated for women and children at a Lebanon homeless shelter.

Diane Shifflett noticed broken glass when she arrived to work at her family's store and truck service Friday morning. The store, Amish Traditions and Fireplace Shoppe, is located on Nashville Road in Franklin, Ky. Shifflett said thousands of dollars worth of equipment was stolen.

"My father's pickup was stolen, my brother's tools, which he makes his living with, everything,” Shifflett said. “He can't even work on a truck right now, because they stole everything."

It was so much that the family doesn't even have the tools necessary to make a living, but right now, she said, that's not what bothers them the most.

"I came into my office, and I had a large box of all of these stockings that were made for the homeless shelter," Shifflet said.

Shifflett had headed up a project to collect Christmas presents for the women and children at Brooks House in Lebanon. Her daughters go to Friendship Christian, also in Lebanon, and they and their classmates had written uplifting cards with Bible verses as well as bought gifts to fill stockings to be distributed at Brooks House.

"Last year, we were able to do a little bit more, and some of the children said that was the best Christmas they ever had," Shifflet said.

Television stations in Nashville reported the theft, and Shifflett’s eighth-grade daughter, Lauren, posted a note on Facebook explaining to her friends what happened and that they still planned to give some gifts to the families at Brooks House.

She said even though money is tight this year, the students went out of their way to do something. They planned to drop off the stockings on Christmas Eve morning, so Shifflett began scrambling to find resources to replace the stolen gifts.

She did not have to worry for long, however, as word got out about the theft and people from across Tennessee and Kentucky began to call and offer help. Several businesses in Nashville offered to make donations and even buy gifts.

“My cell phone and the house phone have been ringing off the hook with people from all over Kentucky all the way to Tullahoma wanting to help get gifts for my families,” said Liz Reese, director of Brooks House. “Our families are all taken care of now, but we will save the extra gifts for birthdays and such.”

“It’s hard to believe this actually happened,” Shifflett said, “but the best part is that other people were touched by this story and are offering to help.”

Shifflett said she received a call from a woman whose daughter goes to FCS and said that she had already written replacement cards for everyone, since the original cards were stolen with the gifts.

Reese said that Youth Leadership Wilson would be serving breakfast at Brooks House on Thursday morning and that the residents would celebrate Christmas that night by reading the Christmas Story and opening their gifts.

“We believe in sharing what we have and blessing others,” Reese said. “This is just such a blessing that so many people want to help. It really shows that the Christmas Spirit is alive and well.”

Staff Writer Ben Dudley may be contacted at ben@wilsonpost.com.

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