Located in the idyllic mountainous Eastern Kentucky Coalfield, Magoffin County, where our affiliated project Salyersville Elementary School is located, holds the unfortunate distinction of having one of the highest poverty rates in the state. The coal mining industry once employed the majority of the area’s workforce. However, with the recent sharp decline of the industry, many area families have turned to small-scale and low-wage farming in order to provide for themselves; and unemployment and poverty have become intrinsic to Salyersville’s people.

Thankfully, our Volunteer Coordinator at Salyersville Elementary School, Alice, has the Children Incorporated program to rely on to help sponsored and unsponsored children receive basic needs, which not only helps kids, but their families as well. To explain the impact our program has on our sponsored and unsponsored children at the school, Alice wrote a letter to our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, about how important sponsors and sponsorship are to kids living in poverty.

Our sponsorship program has helped thousands of children in Eastern Kentucky.

Bringing smiles to kids’ faces

In her letter, Alice wrote, “Children Incorporated is truly a blessing to my community. It has brought so many smiles to the children’s faces. There are so many kids that benefit from this organization. Without help from this program, so many of our kids would do without. I am truly amazed at all the things sponsors through Children Incorporated do. To see these kids get packages from a ‘stranger’ that loves them is beyond them. It is breathtaking to see what just a note or card can do.

“Putting a smile on a child’s face is a miracle in itself. Coming from a family that has had its share of hardship, I personally know the feeling of not having material things like other kids. It makes me want to succeed as a volunteer coordinator for Children Incorporated. That helping hand makes more of a difference than anyone can ever imagine. Many kids and families take for granted the opportunity they have in being able to just go out and purchase new things for school — when other children have nothing. This program means the difference between a child being able to have their basic needs met for school and a child doing without.”

A thoughtful gift

“I would like to say thank you for everything that you do for our kids. With your help, our kids can have a brighter future.”

Alice continued, “I will never forget when one of my new students got a care package from her new sponsor. This girl was very hesitant to open the box. I explained to her that it was a gift from her sponsor, and I told her they wanted her to have what was inside. This girl, with a tear in her eye, says, ‘Why would anyone buy me something?’ My heart broke. I wanted to break down and cry. As I sat there with my heart in pieces I stood up and grabbed her in my arms and hugged her, and asked her, ‘Why not?’

“As she opened the box, she looked with the biggest eyes. It was filled with clothes, art supplies, toys, and snacks. She leaned over into the box and grabbed a box of snacks and said, ‘Wow! I finally got snacks for school. I can’t wait to show my daddy. He will be so excited.’ As she went through her box of goodies, she showed me each piece and kept smiling and hopping around with excitement the entire time. She had to lay all her clothes out and look them over. She rubbed the soft footie to her face, and I truly cherished every moment she pulled something new out of her box.

“I would like to say thank you for everything that you do for our kids. With your help, our kids can have a brighter future.”



You can sponsor a child in Kentucky in one of two ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members, or email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org.


written by Shelley Callahan

Shelley is the Director of Development for Children Incorporated. She is also the lead social correspondent, regularly contributing insights through the Stories of Hope blog series. Sign up for Stories of Hope to receive weekly email updates about how your donations are changing the lives of children in need.

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