TAYLOR COUNTY—When children enter the foster care system, they are seldom able to take much with them. Often times, what little belongings they are permitted to take are transported in garbage bags, but one little girl is on a mission to change that.
Little Miss West Virginia Adalynn Menefee was tasked with finding a cause that was close to her heart to spotlight during her reign. And when it came to making the decision, it was simple: helping children who have found themselves in foster care.
Thus was born Adalynn’s initiative, Pure Heart Foster Angels.
“Our older kids had friends that were in some difficult situations, and my husband and I knew we had to do something to help them,” explained Leyna Menefee, Adalynn’s mother. “We opened our door to them, and when these kids came to us, they had little to nothing.”
She said that, in some cases, foster kids are lucky to leave with the clothes on their backs.
“It was then that it hit us really hard. When these kids are removed from their home for unknown reasons, they are given a trash bag and several minutes to put in it what they can,” Menefee voiced. “We want to change that!”
She believes that by giving the children something of their own that they can take along with them on their journey, it will allow them to know that someone cares about them.
When trying to figure out what one item would be the most helpful, it was decided that the vessel in which they carried their other belongings would be the perfect gift.
So, Adalynn set out to collect unwanted and lightly use suitcases, duffle bags and backpacks. In fact, she has set a goal to collect 100 items to then donate to foster kids.
But her mission doesn’t stop there. Little Miss West Virginia is also seeking personal hygiene items, such as brushes and toothbrushes, along with other essential items, as well as baby care items.
“She has such a big heart and this cause fits right in,” Menefee said of her daughter. “She wants to make a difference.”
To help her in her endeavor, Adalynn has teamed up with some area businesses who will act as donation points.
Locally, Tygart Electric, LLC has graciously offered to open their doors as a drop-off location, because the cause is close to owner Travis Hudson’s heart.
“Our three girls are adopted and came from foster care, so we know first hand what it can be like for children in the system,” he revealed. “So, this is something that is very near and dear to my heart. When I heard the story, I knew I needed to help in any way possible.”
To help gather as many bags as possible, Hudson has secured a 17-foot box trailer that he hopes to fill.
“I just think this is so awesome and so big of her,” Hudson expressed. “Let’s do what we can to help Adalynn and the children in foster care!”
Those wishing to make donations locally may visit Tygart Electric’s location at 548 Turner Road, Grafton. Those with questions are encouraged to call the office at 304-506-7616.
Little Miss West Virginia Adalynn has also teamed up with Missions WV, located on High Street in Morgantown at the Department of Heath and Human Resources Building, to be a donation site.
Items may also be dropped off on the second floor at the WKKW studios at the Greer (Dominion Post) building in Sabraton.
Participants may also stop by the Menefee’s collection drives being held in the Morgantown area. The next drive will take place on October 24 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. in the old Food Lion parking lot, across from United Bank, in Sabraton.
“I would also be happy to meet locally on a weekend, if need be,” Menefee added.
To keep up to date with Adalynn’s progress, please be sure to like and follow Pure Heart Foster Angels on Facebook.
“Seeing the overwhelming support that has been and continues to be shown puts a huge smile on Adalynn’s face,” she expressed. “So, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you to everyone who helps us on our mission!”