Daily Point of Light # 3677 Mar 7, 2008

Help4Kids is an organization that relies on monetary donations, grants and contributions of items to assist the needy children of Horry County, SC. It is an all-volunteer organization in its 18th year of trying to make sure kids whose parents cannot provide everything they need receive food, clothing, school supplies, home furnishings and repairs, presents for making honor rolls and birthdays, and assistance with gaining college grants. Barbara Mains and Maria Limon faithfully make multiple trips, in a van that states it is Help4Kids, to the outlying areas of the county to check with the schools and to deliver needed supplies. Kids are identified by teachers and others as not having enough to eat when school is out during the summer.

Help4Kids was started after Hurricane Hugo in 1989 by Barbara Mains and Lee Dougherty who have faithfully served the needy children of Horry County for 18 years. Originally, a list was submitted to Help4Kids by the Health Nurse of Horry County, South Carolina. Since then, names are submitted by teachers at the schools and by people who know that assistance is needed. A check is made to make sure that the people do indeed require assistance. At times assistance has been extended to help elderly who are in need. Help4Kids relies on monetary donations in addition to contributions of food, clothing, school supplies during the year in addition to new backpacks and school supplies at the beginning of the school year, and home furnishings and repairs.

Volunteers deliver food to the homes of kids who have been identified as not having enough food. Even families who receive food stamps usually are out of food by the last week of the month. Seniors sometimes receive delivery, too. Lee Dougherty is the "Food Lady". She works tirelessly to make sure there are enough food bags for all the families. There is no way to describe going to a house with food and seeing the faces of the children when they know they will not go to bed hungry.

Volunteers help paint, fix holes, and do simple repairs to make a child's home safer. Betty Boohr, who is in charge of in-kind donations, does theme rooms for kids. She finds out what they like and decorates them a dream room. It makes a dark room cheerful and gives the kids a great place to sleep and study, especially when many have been sleeping on the floor with only one blanket.

If children have to go to school and stand out as different, they suffer low self-esteem, their grades are poor and it makes a big difference in their school year. They make sure they can go in with their heads held high with a new book bag, shoes, clothes and supplies. Help4Kids also furnishes field trips, pictures and other things that the mothers can't afford. Rewards are given for good grades, improvement, behavior, and perfect attendance. School supplies are replenished each month. In addition, the group finds and brings back animals that have been abandoned or mistreated. Volunteers carry dog food in the van to feed dogs and cats.