Children in Dickenson County, Virginia, will start off the school year with new shoes, thanks, in part, to an initiative started in memory of Sister M. Jean Barbara (Korkisch). In 1983, she began ministry in Dickenson County, a rural Appalachian community that has historically experienced severe poverty and lack of economic opportunity, with 25 percent of its children living beneath the poverty line. Sister Jean Barbara implemented several supportive services for the community, including education and housing repair programs.
Jarvis Flint, who for 20 years was a close friend of Sister, was one of many people impacted by her generosity and heart. “Her work here in Appalachia left a lasting effect on many people. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for her,” Jarvis said. To honor Sister Jean Barbara, who passed away in 2017, and continue her legacy, he launched the new shoes initiative. In January, he contacted Sister M. Rose Edward (Goodrow), director of Development for Sisters of the Holy Cross, about his idea.
Inspired by Jarvis’ efforts, Sisters Rose and Suzanne Patterson applied for support from the Soup Fund. Monies in the Soup Fund come from Simple Meal Day at Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana. Money saved with the weekly, scaled-down meal is collected into the Soup Fund, which assists local aid agencies and meets other special needs, in this instance providing $500 to the Sisters’ Shoes program.
With the donation, the Congregation purchased 59 new pairs of shoes and 180 pairs of socks to support the effort, which collected more than 400 pairs of donated shoes in all. “My heart is full,” Jarvis said of the outcome. “Sister Jean Barbara would be so proud of us all. I pray that she is looking down and smiling as I carry her legacy forward in helping others.”