PRESTONSBURG – With the loss of coal jobs in Eastern Kentucky as well as the decline of other jobs, many families have found themselves seeking assistance with food and other basic needs. Local food pantries and churches are working hard but struggling to meet the increasing demand. A local business witnessed this growing need and decided it wanted to do something to help. A wooden box with two shelves and a glass door was installed in front of the business Bright Beginnings. The box, dubbed Blessings Box, contains random food and toiletry items.
Bright Beginnings Child Care is located at 3122 South Lake Drive in Prestonsburg. It is owned by sisters Ashley Bartley and Kimberly Bowling. The sisters worked six months on planning, organizing and purchasing equipment before opening the doors to the business on March 9, 2015.
Both sisters work full-time at the daycare and employee their mother, Jennifer Hall and two aunts, Ann Hall and Mary Hall.
“It is a blessing to be able to work with children every day and do a job you love,” said Bartley. “Being able to work with my sister, mother and aunts is great because we have so much faith and trust in each other to work and get things done that need to be done.”
Both sisters are Christians and give all glory of their success to God. Working with working families everyday, they witnessed families struggles and wanted to do something to help.
“Sometimes people don’t want to ask for help,” said Bowling. “They are either too proud or embarrassed, but we are young mothers with young families and we face many of the same struggles and challenges as others in the community. God put it on our hearts to give back to the community. We saw the idea of the Blessings Box online and thought that was the perfect thing for us to do. People would not have to ask for help. If they were in need they could simply stop by, look in the box and if they could use something take it. It has been a real blessing for us to be able to provide this small gesture to the community,” said Bowling.
The local business was awarded the Horizon Award for new business growth, expansion, and county service earlier in the year. It hopes to be able to do more community charity work in the near future. The duo welcomes anyone in the community to take advantage of the Blessings Box.
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at (606) 886-8506.