TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kim Cushinberry is quick to share a smile and a hug when she arrives to work at Atria Hearthstone. The biggest smiles come when she talks about her three children. She calls 18-year-old Jamon, 15-year-old Jamontez and three-year-old Ja'niya good kids.
It's why Kim pours her efforts into two jobs to make ends meet. She also works as a para at Topeka's Capital City School. What little she has, she says, goes to provide items her children need for school, sports and every day life.
Times got even tougher last fall when Ja'niya's father passed away. It was another blow to the family's financial state, so Kim found herself again applying to the United Way of Greater Topeka's Christmas Bureau.
Kim says it's tough to ask for help, since she's the type of person who'd rather struggle and get it on her own. But, she says, it is for her kids.
Kim is among 2800 families who applied for help this year from the Christmas Bureau. Adopters are asked to provide a meal and gifts for each family member.
WIBW-TV held a special adopt-a-thon call-in Wednesday on 13 News at 4, 5 and 6. The goal was to find adopters for the more than 800 families - encompassing 2400 people - still looking for someone to provide Christmas help. Thanks to viewer calls, the United Way can check 62 more families off the list.
Kim hopes to one day pay it forward. She'll soon start classes online, continuing work toward a business degree. For now, though, she says words aren't enough to express her gratitude.
"You make our Christmas and our life so much better," she said. "If I had a thousand words, I couldn't say enough."
People can still apply to adopt a family online at www.unitedwaytopeka.org or call their office during business hours, 785-273-4804.