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Now in her 80s, founder of Martha's Kids still thrives on helping children

Martha Wolfe started reaching out to children in need three decades ago and never stopped caring. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

A Buncombe County woman started reaching out to children in need three decades ago and never stopped caring.

Martha Wolfe is our Person of the Week.

"It's been awhile!" she said recently at Candler Elementary, where Wolfe embraced a challenge.

"Students at every grade level," Tara Mowrey, a school counselor with a long list of kids who need assistance. "Kindergarten all the way up."

"My goodness, this is a lot," said Wolfe, who cares about kids as much as ever at 87, which explains why her effort snowballed into something called Martha's Kids.

"You've been doing this for a long time," Mowrey said. "You have reached the lives of many many of our children."

Martha's dedicated her life to giving young people something, even when at times it left her with almost nothing.

"And I get Mother's Day cards and Christmas cards, and I still hear from them," Martha said proudly.

Pictures tell the story of the extended family she helped with food, clothing--and compassion.

The former school bus driver and teacher once had a front row seat to the need in West Buncombe County.

"They'd get on the bus and have nothing but maybe flip flops, and (it) would be, like, sub-zero degrees," she recalled. "It hurts me, but I knew that I was gonna do something."

"She would look and kids would have holey sneakers," daughter Cheryl said, recalling many children at her house back in the day.

That was just the beginning.

"When she was helping kids, she did that out of her own pocket," Cheryl told us. "Her first paycheck she was making $60 a month, and she was spending that certain times of the year on kids."

What started out as eight kids evolved into the Martha's Kids ministry that now impacts hundreds.

Hominy Baptist Church members like Ron Honeycutt helped make it bigger by adopting kids each Christmas to make sure they have what they need.

Ron also mobilized local tow trucks and businesses for a fundraiser called the Tows for Tots Parade.

The next benefit parade is December 9th. For more information on it, contact Hominy Baptist Church (the church's website is here).

"I'm inspired tremendously by the effort Martha has put out over the years for these children, and to look back at what she's done in the community," Honeycutt said.

"All through my life if anyone's sick or has needs, she just does things for them," Cheryl said.

"That brings me so much joy to be able to do this," Martha said, still with a spark and a willingness to help. "Very happy to do it."

In the Hominy Valley, Martha's never overlooked the need in her own back yard.

"Well we'll take care of them," she said to the Candler counselor with a stack of forms.

"I know you will, you take care of them every year. All of them," Mowrey responded.

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