It was last autumn when Perry County’s homeless were facing the real possibility of a winter with few options for shelter. The Corner Haven homeless shelter, due to a lack of funding, had cut back to offer only overnight emergency services.
In response, community leaders and administrators with Community Ministries, the Hazard non-profit that runs Corner Haven, came together in an attempt to find new funding solutions to re-open the shelter on a full-time basis. It was an issue discussed heavily in local media, and thanks to the generosity of many in the county, through donations and other sources, the shelter was re-opened for the winter, but not before it caught the attention of a second grade student at Dennis Wooton Elementary who took it upon herself to lend a helping hand.
Cydney Banks and her mother, Jennifer (who is also her teacher), met with the Perry County Board of Education in November where Cydney received the board’s blessing to begin a “Mile of Pennies” fund drive across the county school district, essentially collecting change for an extended period of time that would be donated to the shelter to help pay for expenses there.
Cydney’s fund drive ended this week, and she was happy to donate more than $1,400 to Corner Haven on Tuesday.
“I was worried that the homeless shelter didn’t have what they needed,” Cydney said, just after handing over a check for $1,438.47 to Adrienne Bush, executive director of Community Ministries.
This money will go to help keep the lights on at the shelter and purchase food or other needed items, Bush said, and Cydney’s initiative at such a young age is a reminder that this entire community, and not just the adults, are invested in helping each other.
“This just goes to show how blessed we are that we have families like the Bankses in our community, who are giving and who truly view Corner Haven as part of the community and something worthy of supporting,” Bush said.
Of the $1,400 raised for the shelter, Jennifer Banks said, close to $700 came from Dennis Wooton Elementary alone, while Paula Boggs and the Buckhorn School raised over $300. Other money was donated from the school board’s central office, or from family and friends.
“A little boy she (Cydney) went to school with the past two years that moved to Ohio saw it on Facebook and sent her money from Ohio,” Jennifer said. “So many people were on board, even if they could just help with a dollar. There were so many people that helped out.”
“And to have a 7-year-old child to have such a big idea on their heart,” she added, “that’s just kind of overwhelming.”