Poor Busters Project, Inc., and Shoes Against Child Trafficking are both not-for-profit organizations providing necessities–but specifically shoes–for underprivileged Appalachian children.

Poor Busters Project (PBP) came about after an article appeared in the Richmond Times Dispatch about Highland Elementary School in Bristol, West Virginia. As a grandmother and advocate for healthy nutrition and children’s rights, PBP founder “Tokie” couldn’t just sit idly by. It broke her heart, and spurred a trip directly to the elementary school.

When she met with the principal, it became evident that the story ran much deeper for schools in southwest Virginia and others through the state as well.

Poverty runs rampant throughout many of these communities, where some children attend school barefoot or in pajamas because they simply don’t have appropriate clothes or shoes. The Appalachian winters are cold, and many children are in need of warm clothing and especially boots. Some of the teachers have been filling children’s needs out of their own pockets.

As we dug deeper, we also discovered that child abuse and trafficking are a huge problem–not overseas in a third-world country, but right here in our own backyards. Many families do not have indoor plumbing, and children are put at risk when urinating in the grass or in the woods.

Armed with this knowledge, we went to work facilitating food drops from southwest Virginia to Appalachia, beginning in 2015. We also began gathering in-kind donations of food, clothing and shoes for children in the community. In 2017 we adopted a new arm, Shoes Against Child Trafficking