Spreading The Hope: Mission of Hope Brings Christmas to Needy Kids in Appalachia

This season marks the 18th year of the Mission of Hope’s Christmas Campaign that serves students and their families in the poorest counties in Appalachia, more than half of which are in Kentucky.

MOH, a Knoxville-based Christian charity, serves 17,500 students at 27 schools where nearly all of the students receive free or reduced lunch.

At Christmas, MOH volunteers from more than 40 Churches, including NorthEast Christian Church in Lexington, Versailles Baptist Church and Central Baptist in Paris, set up a “toy store” in each of the school gyms.

As students and faculty gather round the “store,” which is hidden by a plastic covering, volunteers conduct a brief evangelical program before they pull back the plastic – and the faces of grateful children light up like Christmas trees.

“It’s magical,” MOH’s executive director Emmette Thompson said. “I can’t tell you all that I’ve seen since I’ve been with this ministry. It’s humbled me in a way nothing else could.”

People in Central Kentucky can help spread the hope by dropping off new toys, clothing, food and hygiene products from now through Monday, Dec. 9 in the MOH Big Blue Barrels.

Folks also can make tax-deductible donations.

“The time has long since passed where the Big Blue Barrel collections fill all of our needs for children,” Thompson said.

“We spend thousands of dollars to account for the remaining items. That’s why your financial donations are more critical than ever before.”

Items Most Needed Are:

Food Suggestions
Green Beans 16 oz.
Corn 16 oz.
Fruit 16 oz.
Soup 10.5 oz.
Tuna 7 oz.
Entree Items
Stew, Chili, etc. 18 oz.
Saltine Crackers 16 oz.
Macaroni & Cheese 7.5 oz.
Oatmeal 18 oz.
Peanut Butter 18 oz.
Dried Beans 2 lb.
Rice 2 lb.

Non-perishable food items only
New and unopened items only
No glass containers
No microwavable items

Clothing Suggestions
(Children: Kindergarten-8th Grade)
Warm, Winter Coats
Jeans, Shirts & Blouses
Socks & Underwear
Hats & Gloves

Toy Suggestions
(Suggested $15 value and above)
Action Figure Sets
Arts & Crafts Sets
Electronic Games
Watches & Jewelry
Remote Control Vehicles
(Gifts for Children 10-14 years old)

Hygiene Suggestions
(Full Size Products Please)
Soap Bars
2-in-1 Shampoo with Conditioner
How You Can Help

To provide for the children of Appalachia, Mission of Hope counts on donations from people like you.
Big Blue Barrels for the Christmas Campaign can be found in the following Central Kentucky locations.

  • Appalachian Regional Hospital
  • Chick-fil-A
  • CiCi’s Pizza
  • Curves locations
  • Kid’s Place
  • Lexington Dance Factory
  • Lexington Family Magazine
  • Legacy Gymnastics
  • Premier Athletics
  • Valvoline
  • YMCA (3 Lexington locations)

Big Blue Barrels are on display now through Monday, Dec. 9.

If you would like to make a financial donation, please send checks to:
Mission of Hope
P.O. Box 51824
Knoxville, TN 37950

Mission of Hope is a fully licensed 501c3 non-profit charity, so your donation is tax deductible.

Info: (877) 627-1909 or