Often called the Bluegrass County of the Mountains, Morgan County is situated amid Kentucky’s picturesque, mountainous Eastern Coal Fields region. The county itself was first settled by Scotch and Irish immigrants during the eighteenth century and derives its name from an homage to Revolutionary War hero General Daniel Morgan.

Despite its natural beauty and rich history, Morgan County suffers the socioeconomic issues associated with the widespread, debilitating poverty, illiteracy, and unemployment so tragically typical of Appalachia. There are few economic opportunities in the rural, small farming town of West Liberty today, and as a result, families who once relied upon farming and selling tobacco are now forced to find other means of employment to support themselves.

Morgan Central Elementary School serves as a beacon of hope, offering its students a safe environment, a caring staff, and the chance to obtain a well-rounded education — essential for success. Through education, these children are given an opportunity to rise above the difficult circumstances from which they come.

The idea is to improve students’ nutrition by exposing them to and encouraging them to eat a fresh fruit or vegetable snack at least three days each week,” said Renée.

Stretching her budget

“This school has around 300 children in grades Pre-K through 5th — our sponsorship program is run by our volunteer coordinator, Brittany,” explained Renée Kube, our Director of U.S. Programs.

“During my last visit to the school in 2019, Brittany told me that she prefers to shop for the children at the local Walmart because she can really stretch out her budget that way. She added that the kids are not picky or particular about designer brands and are happy to receive sturdy, decent, school clothes which Walmart can offer at a low price.”

A variety of fresh food

“Brittany was very excited to tell me about a grant the school had been awarded through the United States Department of Agriculture. The grant is called the FFVP, which stands for the ‘Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Program.’ The idea is to improve students’ nutrition by exposing them to and encouraging them to eat a fresh fruit or vegetable snack at least three days each week,” said Renée.

Our volunteer coordinoator, Brittany (left), is pictured with one of our sponsored children and Morgan Central Elementary School’s guidance counselor

“Because so many of the children have been minimally exposed to fresh fruit at home, often times they have never tried some of the fruits or vegetables offered. They are encouraged to try it, but students may choose not to partake if they don’t like what’s being served. The school is allowed to buy the produce at local grocery stores, or even to buy from farmers’ markets, if any exist in the area, which also helps small business.”

Going above and beyond to feed kids

Brittany explained that this program has been so helpful because food insecurity is a big problem in the county. To help even more, she has been running the ‘Pack A Snack’ food bag program every Friday.  She uses large Ziploc bags and stuffs them with granola bars, ramen noodles, packaged peanut butter crackers, and micro-wavable mac and cheese.  Brittany said her main food partner is Lacey Creek Church of Christ, but she would love to have more funds so that she could put more food in the bags,” said Renée.

“I was happy to tell her about our U.S. Feeding Program that helps our affiliated projects with programs just like this, and that I would be happy for her to apply for additional assistance to ensure students are getting food to take home on the weekends in addition to what they are already receiving at school.”

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How do I sponsor a child in Kentucky?

You can sponsor a child in Kentucky in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in Kentucky that is available for sponsorship.

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