HAZARD — An East Perry student has made it her mission to help supply NECCO in Hazard with adventure bags for incoming foster children.
Kortney Gross, 9, of Bulan donated 30 bags to NECCO on Tuesday. The adventure bags were full of miscellaneous items such as teddy bears, toothbrushes, toothpaste, socks, coloring books, and crayons. This was her first time donating the adventure bags and Gross hopes it won’t be her last time.
Gross’s mother, Kim Fugate, said a Facebook post lead to Gross wanting to do something for NECCO. A member of the Girl Scouts, Gross originally thought it was an activity the Girl Scouts could do, but after not receiving a reply from them, Gross decided to do something on her own about it.
Foster Care Case Manager Paula Hall has been with NECCO in Hazard for a little over a year. She started the adventure bags last month after seeing a lot of the foster children carry their belongings in garbage bags.
“To me, that is sad,” said Hall.
She began to do research on ways to help the kids with the garbage bag situation and some of the necessities they need when the kids get into a new home. She help started a drive to help kids get adventure bags and some necessities to help the kids get settled into foster homes.
Gross said when she went to NECCO to drop off the bags, the employees called her a superhero and and a rock star.
“She’s a good kid,” said Hall of Gross.
Gross said she felt happy when she dropped off the adventure bags.
She said her favorite teacher at East Perry is Mrs. Ruby Couch. Mrs. Couch was supportive of her collecting the adventure bags, Gross said.
Her biggest fan, though, is her mom.
“I’m very, very proud of her,” said Fugate.
When Gross was putting the bags together, she included a note with each bag. She said she wanted to acknowledge the people who have helped her. She would sign the note by including some of the names that helped her get the items for the bags.
“She has a very giving heart,” said Hall of Gross.
She is also looking at ways to further help the community.
She plans on doing the shoe boxes during Christmas for other kids in the community.
Her mom said they have also are trying to get backpacks together kids for the next school year. Gross wants to put school supplies in the backpacks to help them get a start on the school year.
When she isn’t volunteering her time and taking up donations, she loves to play outside. One of her favorite games to play is tag.
Her favorite subject in school is math.
She said when she was younger she wanted to be the tooth fairy when she grew up.
Gross plans on continuing to collect adventure bags for foster kids and donating them to NECCO.
TJ Caudill is a reporter with The Hazard Herald and he can be reached at 606-629-3245.