‘I gave those children my word’: Church raises funds to help orphaned children with mother’s funeral expenses

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 12:43 PM EST
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Kathy Barker lived her life to protect her kids.

“She wanted to know that her kids would be okay. She loved them. She cares for them. She would always be there,” said Cornerstone Christian Church Student Minister Clay Mitchell, who pastored the kids.

On Saturday, that life ended unexpectedly, as Barker left behind her three children, with no home, no family, and no means to pay for her funeral.

“They left school on a Friday. And by Sunday, their entire lives had changed,” said family friend and Pike County Public Health Director Tammy Riley.

And though the children- Christopher, Sierra, and Gabriella- are now out of the town, school, and home church they have grown to love, they are worried about much more.

“Their only concern was, where was their mom? Where was she? And were they gonna be able to say goodbye?” said Riley. “I gave those children my word that somehow, this community, that they would get that. That they would get to say goodbye to their mom.”

Riley, working with Cornerstone where the kids attended for the last few years, set up an online fundraiser, inviting the community to cover the costs of the funeral.

“They’ve lost everything that they know. And sometimes we take that for granted. But the community, certainly, I feel the love coming from the community for these children. The concern,” said Riley.

Donations can be taken to the church, through the online link, or through the Kathy Barker Funeral Fund at Community Trust Bank. Those involved say the money will not go to any outside sources- funding the funeral and giving any excess funds to the children who are currently living with a foster family out of county.

“You know, pulled them out of what they knew and what they were comfortable with in their lives. And they’ve been uprooted totally,” said Mitchell.

Riley said every donation helps, and no amount is too small, to get them closer to their goal of giving the kids a way to take care of the woman who always took care of them.

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