KANSAS CITY, Mo. – You hear it mentioned on the news, and you might have seen commercials or events. But what exactly is the FOX4 Love Fund for Children and who does it benefit?
It’s called the FOX4 Love Fund because it was founded by a journalist who was on air for a long time. Cynthia Smith-Kelly anchored the evening news at FOX4 in the 1980s.
Through her work, she learned a lot about kids in the community who lacked for basic things.
“We kind of put our heads together, and we decided -- we opened a bank account and decided we’d start a nonprofit," Smith said.
It evolved into the FOX4 Love Fund for Children. The Love Fund’s office is a free space at the news station, but FOX4 doesn’t fund the nonprofit. It has its own budget, goals and board of directors.
Kelly Adkinson, a supervisor at PACES in Wyandotte County, said the Love Fund provides “things like clothing, shoes, bedding.” It works to get stuff not covered by other charities or things a little harder to find.
“There have even been instances where there were items that the Love Fund generally didn’t carry, but they worked really hard and they kept on it and they were able to get them for the families," Adkinson said.
The nonprofit is known as a group that “bridges the gap” for families somewhere in between the lowest and highest pay scales.
“Children like Cupid, they have emotions. They have a mind of their own," Patricia Moore said of her 6-year-old son with autism. "It’s just a matter of providing what they need to unlock those emotions and thoughts.”
In Cupid’s case, the Love Fund provided a spin disk and a weighted vest.
“It was joy for me when I got the call in saying, ‘Hey, his items are in. How can we get these to you?’" Moore said. "It’s a wonderful thing, and there needs to be more donations to help parents and kids that can’t afford to get them on their own.”
“I think of the things that have been purchased over the years that have helped kids self-esteem, blossoming talent, music instrument, going to camp," Smith-Kelly said.
They're things that have benefited families like the Jones.
“We had already sorted out our upcoming budget and didn’t really know where we were going to pull any extra money from," mom Michelle Jones said.
She didn’t want to disappoint her daughter because they couldn’t afford to send her to camp. The Love Fund footed the bill, giving 10-year-old Peyton her first away-from-home trip – summer camp for children with hearing impairments.
“They cared and wanted Peyton to go as well," Jones said. "Whatever they need, they’ll help the families, and that’s nice to have a little bit of help.”
Her husband Russell agreed.
“There’s a lot of kids out there that can benefit from something like that, you know?" he said.
Those behind the scenes appreciate how the Love Fund is able to fill such individual, specific needs.
“We don’t have anyone here who is getting rich and retiring off of this. We’re strictly doing it to help kids," board member David Lauck said.
“I’m just so glad that the children of Kansas City have the Love Fund that they can still depend on after all these years," Smith-Kelly said.