Donna Helton, coordinator for the Cloverfork FRYSC, said their group works in connection with the Mission of Hope and the Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church of Knoxville, which annually supplies the students of Black Mountain Elementary School with two to three Christmas gifts of their choosing.
"This service is provided to all students of Black Mountain Elementary regardless of income," Helton said.
According to Helton, the Mission of Hope and the Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church work through the FRYSC program at Black Mountain Elementary School to provide additional assistance to needy families at Christmas time.
The Mission of Hope's goal is to bring relief to depressed areas of Appalachia through donations for Christmas programs, (in the form of toys, clothing and food), back to school campaigns and medical and building projects.
Helton said the organization allows each school that participates in the Christmas program to turn in approximately 15 percent of the total enrollment for additional assistance with new clothing and food boxes.
"The clothing supplied includes but is not limited to, coats, shoes, socks, underwear, gloves and two to three outfits per child," Helton said.
"This year with the help of the Mission of Hope and the Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church, over 100 students of Black Mountain Elementary will be receiving new, warm, winter clothing in conjunction with the program."
Helton said Black Mountain Elementary and Cloverfork FRYSC are not the only schools and resource centers receiving help from the Mission of Hope. Other schools involved include Evarts Elementary School, Cawood Elementary School, Hall Elementary School and Green Hills Elementary School. She said the Mission of Hope works directly with the Family Resource Youth Center in their school to provide these services.
"This is a great service that is needed badly in the community," Helton said. "This year Black Mountain Elementary has a free and reduced lunch count of 90 percent, which is what FRYSC grant is based upon.
The Cloverfork FRYSC is funded through a state grant by the Cabinet for Families and Children and governed by the Harlan County Board of Education.
"Although basic needs is an optional component for most of the Family Resource and Youth Services centers, it is a top priority in our program here at Black Mountain," said Helton.
"Optional components are developed based on the identified needs in a particular school community."
Helton said without the assistance of their district contact, Billie Lewis and superintendent Tim Saylor in allowing these organizations to come into the schools, these events would not be possible.