Throughout all of April, which is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, residents in Macon County held a fundraiser to benefit neglected and abused children. Cousins Stephen Drake and Stephen Wright, both of Franklin, spearheaded the effort.
Proceeds from the fundraiser went toward funding a Royal Family Kids Club camp trip for children from across the state between the ages of 7 and 11, that are currently in the custody of Social Services.
Many of the children, Wright said, have never experienced a proper summer vacation. “We are trying to plant a seed of something positive in a child’s life, who have never had anything positive before,” said Wright. “Many of them have never had any encouragement or anything like that from anyone other than a social worker, for most of their life.”
The goal was to send a group of 20 or so under-privileged children to a nearby camp, at a cost of approximately $27,000. However, the month-long fundraiser yielded nearly a third of the total. “We raised about $9,000, mostly from individual contributors and other fundraisers,” said Drake.
Businesses throughout Franklin gave out coupons for four restaurants — Dairy Queen, Fat Buddies, Main Street Pizza and Elmore’s Fish Fry. The discounted money went toward funding the program. From that fundraiser, approximately $500 was raised.
“We still need $15,000,” said event organizer Kimberly Green. “What we’ve found is that we receive more donations from individuals interested in sponsoring a child, which costs about $500.”
What makes Royal Family Kids Club “royal,” aside from a Christian connotation, is the treatment it offers the campers. “There is a connotation in the word that gives it an extremely desirable effect,” said Wright. “Most of these kids have never been given the royal treatment before. That’s what this camp does.”
For one week at a nearby retreat in the region, campers will experience all of the excitement of summer camp, including building fires, s’mores, carnival prizes, outdoor sports and activities, paddle boats, fishing, tie dying and—everyone gets a birthday. “Some of these kids have never even had a decent birthday party,” noted Wright.
On June 5, the Prentiss Church of God will be holding a Showcase of Talent, which is open to the public. Proceeds will go toward funding the program. A limited number of slots are available in the talent show.
“We’re providing an experience these kids would never have been able to have otherwise in their current condition and situation,” said Drake. “There’s no chance of them having the opportunities and experiences that they have at this week of camp.”
Those interested in participating in the Showcase of Talent event may contact the Prentiss Church of God at (828)369- 3885. After the event, will be a bake sale and ice cream social.
Individuals interested in sponsoring a child may contact Green at (828)524- 4608. Donations are tax deductible. Checks can be made out to Prentiss Church of God for the Royal Family Kids Club.
This year’s camping event will be held on July 24.