Wed | Dec 7, 2016

Those who once needed help now happy to give it

Published:Friday | November 28, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Hunter Fryer, 5, visits with Santa Claus during the Festival of Trees and Trains at the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland, Ky.

INDIANA, United States (AP):

Just a few years ago, a Franklin family needed help to get Christmas gifts for their three children.

Now, the King family is giving back to the programme that helped them when they were struggling. Last year, James and Vikki King sponsored a child though the annual Christmas Angels programme, and this year their three children, 14-year-old Isaac, 11-year-old Grace and eight-year-old Evin, are each sponsoring a child.

Just four years ago, the King children were getting presents from the United Way of Johnson County programme, which matches sponsors who buy Christmas gifts for children in need. Last year, Christmas Angels helped more than 1,600 children overall. More than 1,300 children received gifts from sponsors and 300 children got gifts from a Christmas Store when they didn't get an individual sponsor, said Nancy Lohr Plake, the executive director of United Way of Johnson County.

Additional sponsors are needed this year to keep up with a growing list of families eligible for the programme, Lohr Plake told the Daily Journal (http://bit.ly/15xjvHs ). Last year, the programme had 134 sponsors and 43 people purchasing toys for the Christmas Store. But so far this year, the programme has just under 100 sponsors and 30 gift contributors. The list of children who are eligible to receive gifts is still coming in from county schools and social service organisations, but Lohr Plake said she believes it will be larger than last year's group.

The Kings will be sponsoring three children again this year, but this time the children are each sponsoring a child of their own while the parents buy gifts for The Christmas Store.