PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB)– Matt and Lauren Kirchgessner have made their way back to Panama City Beach to donate more than 200 books to the St. Bernadette Catholic School.
Coming back to Panama City Beach for the first time since losing their two children, 4-year-old Baylor and 6-year-old in a tragic car accident after a driver of a pick-up truck jumped the curb at Coconut Creek Family Fun Park. Despite the pain, the Kirchgessners said they are working to heal.
“It was a little challenging, but we’re just trying to make this comfortable again,” said Lauren Kirchgessner.
The Kirchgessners collected 1000 books through the Addie and Baylor Foundation.
They’ve already donated to three schools in Louisville and one school in Bargersville, Kentucky, but said they couldn’t forget Panama City Beach.
“This is our second home and our kids love the beach,” said Lauren.
Both Matt and Lauren were greeted with children praying for them before they gave them the books.
“To see the smiles on those kids faces when they got those books was pretty special,” said Matt.
And a humble reminder, as they discovered one of the children in the class shared Addie’s name.
“Hearing ‘Addie which book did you get?’ it’s tough but it lets us know that we’re doing the right thing,” said Matt.
The two say they are thankful for the outpouring of love they have gotten from the Panama City Beach community.
“It helps us through the grieving process to see that there are such caring people out there,” said Lauren.
The two also plan to do more for the community in the future.
“We’ve met with the Panama City Beach Fire Chief and his staff to get the ball rolling on some possible fundraisers we could do with them,” said Matt.
To find out more about the Addie and Baylor Foundation click here.