The drug epidemic has become a huge crisis throughout West Virginia. Pocahontas County has seen a large spike in the number of children placed in foster care mainly due to this epidemic. Foster care families often have short notice to prepare for these children. Think about how traumatic it is for a child to be uprooted and sent somewhere else to live, most of the time with only the clothes on their backs.
Most people just throw up their hands and say, “Something has to be done, but what can I do?”
Donald J. and Millie Sharp and their daughters, Wanda Sharp Childers and Donna Sharp Stains, came up with an idea. For a few years, instead of exchanging gifts during the holidays, their families have kept track of the charities where they donate time, energy and talents, then, at Christmas, they share what they have done to help others. It is more meaningful than any presents they would exchange. While talking about these projects, they wondered how many people they could touch throughout the U.S. and the world.
After checking with several organizations in Pocahontas County, Wanda found there was very little help for children placed in foster care. Wanda and her husband, Steve, were once foster parents and know the great needs of these children. From that, the Sharp Family Backpack Project was developed.
E-mails were sent to the Sharp Family Network announcing the plan to collect 50 backpacks along with many items that could be provided to foster care children. Items such as toothpaste and toothbrushes, hair products, stuffed animals, various size diapers, baby products, blankets, coloring books, sanitary products, school supplies and much more.
Upon finding out about the project, Sharp Electronics donated 50 calculators and My Pillow Company donated 50 new pillows. Millie Sharp used her sewing talents to make custom pillowcases for all the pillows.
Last weekend at the Charles J. Sharp Family Reunion, all the items were brought together and family members filled 64 backpacks with more than 1,600 items, and labeled them boy/girl and age level. The backpacks, along with 23 boxes of various size diapers and 10 diaper bags, were presented to Child Protective Services of the West Virginia Department of Human Services.
The Sharp Family challenges other families and groups to get involved and create projects that will make a difference in your community.
There are many needs, just look around and come up with your own “But, what can I do” project, to develop a solution, one case at a time.