LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Family and friends of two Louisville girls killed in a 2008 hit-and-run crash are once again honoring them via a snack drive to help those who are homeless this holiday season.
Riley Lawrence and Claudia Wadlington were tight-knit cousins who were walking hand in hand across Floyd Street in July 2008 to a swim lesson at the University of Louisville's Ralph Wright Natatorium when a car sped through an intersection and killed them.
Riley and Claudia were 4 and 5 years old, respectively.
The driver of the car, Kenielle Finch, had cut off another vehicle and then sped away from a Louisville Metro Police officer before hitting the girls that summer day. He was later sentenced to life in prison.
Loved ones of the two girls are inviting the public to a Dec. 18 event to assemble snack bags that will be distributed to those experiencing homelessness in the community.
Attendees are also asked to bring individually wrapped, non-perishable snack items to fill the bags, with donations of 1-gallon zipper bags also needed.
Riley's birthday was Dec. 22. She would have turned 18 this month.
Riley's mother, Sarah Lawrence, said Snacks in Sacks, a local group that supports those who are homeless in the Louisville area, is already close to making 10,000 snack bags this year, "so we're hoping that this event puts us over the top."
"Our friends and family all over the country have been sending supplies to help make the bags, so I think we'll do well with this event," she said.
Lawrence also has raised money over the years in honor of the two girls to provide a service dog to a boy with diabetes and a mobility chair for a young man who requires assistance.
Riley and Claudia also are honored through ongoing funds that support the Louisville Free Public Library and the Center for Gifted Studies at Western Kentucky University.
A statue of the two girls is at Crittenden Drive and Warnock Street.
Reach Billy Kobin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: 2021 snack drive honors Louisville girls killed in 2008 hit-and-run