The Commonwealth of Kentucky comprises five primary geographical regions. Children Incorporated’s outreach is in the eastern third of the state known as the Cumberland Plateau region.

Many young boys and girls of this community whose families have suffered without steady employment go without meals on the weekends or shiver in the cold at night without heat in their homes during the harsh Appalachian winter.

As a part of the Appalachian Mountain and Plateau region of the United States, the Cumberland Plateau is characterized by high elevations, mountainous terrain, ridges and deep and narrow hollows. Over the last 30 years, our U.S. Division has focused on working in this region due to its historically high poverty rate.

On a trip to visit our affiliated projects in this area of the country where we support kids, Director of U.S. Programs Renée Kube and U.S. Projects Specialist Shelley Oxenham met with our volunteer coordinators and sponsored children in Knott County, Leslie County and Perry County. During their visits, they both had a chance to learn more about how these counties — and the families that reside in them — have been affected by poverty.

High unemployment for the Cumberland Plateau

The Cumberland Plateau has been home to generations of hardworking coal miners and close-knit families. With the collapse of the coal industry — due to automation, cheaper foreign markets and a decline in demand — this region’s unemployment rates have skyrocketed.

Our sponsored children in Kentucky are receiving the support they need thanks to their sponsors.

Many young boys and girls of this community whose families have suffered without steady employment go without meals on the weekends or shiver in the cold at night without heat in their homes during the harsh Appalachian winter.

A history of Eastern Kentucky

Until the mid-20th century, Kentucky was considered an agricultural state — in fact, more than half the state is still farmland. Principal crops include corn, soybeans, hay and tobacco. Several of the counties in the upper portion of the Cumberland Plateau region were not historically coal-mining areas — instead, their economies revolved around agriculture, timber and fishing.

However, the coal producing counties in the lower portion of the Cumberland Plateau have suffered from the decline of the coal industry due to higher mechanization and lower demand.

Stories from their travels

Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing stories from our affiliated schools in Knott County, Leslie County and Perry County. Thanks to our sponsors and donors, Renée and Shelley found that children, although living in poverty, are receiving the support and care that they need so they can get an education.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN KENTUCKY?

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.