Good Ole Boys Foundation lets children shop for people in need

It was Christmastime in 2012 when Sussex County’s Good Ole Boy Foundation got started.

K.C. Conaway recalled when he and his fellow board member, Josh Wharton, found out there was a little girl about to experience her last Christmas at A.I. duPont Children’s Hospital.

“We decided we were gonna give her a really good last Christmas, get some family and friends and post it on Facebook,” he said. “And we were just amazed. We had so many gifts we couldn’t even give them all to her.”

With the remaining gifts, Conaway and Wharton sponsored some children from needy families. The next year, they sponsored more. The project turned into a nonprofit organization.

“We’d roll up to Walmart with like 50 people and a massive shopping list for these families,” Conaway said. “We had shopping carts from one end of the store to the other.”

Over the years, the foundation became more organized and efficient, partnering with other charities to reach more people.

“One of our founding [principles] is that we want to help people who are helping themselves, not just looking for a free hand out,” Conaway said. “And we started realizing that some families reaching out to us were reaching out to two or three other organizations.”

Taking a different approach

In 2016, the Good Ole Boy Foundation changed things up. Instead of buying gifts and distributing them to families, they started issuing $500 grants to youth organizations, like Boy and Girl Scout troops and softball teams. Those groups would chose a family, or maybe a hospital or nursing home, and use the grant money to purchase their own gifts to distribute. 

This year, the foundation gave over 100 grants to youth organizations.

“I think we have close to 700 kids involved,” Conaway said “Hopefully it plants a seed in them and when they get older they do the same thing with their kids.”

The Good Ole Boy Foundation revolves around kids. All the projects they take on, year round, involve the needs of children. Most recently, in August, they did some home renovations for the family of a six-year-old boy who was paralyzed in a car crash.

Conaway recalled a time when a Dagsboro woman raising five grandchildren needed a washing machine. Within minutes of posting about it online, multiple machines were offered. 

“There’s a huge engine out there that wants to help, they just don’t know where to go to help. So that’s what we do -- just kind of coordinate those efforts,” he said. “The Good Ole Boy Foundation is really the Good Ole Community Foundation. It’s not about us.”

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