JACKSONPORT, AR (KAIT) – Two Region 8 residents are raising money to pay for a new children's home to be established in Strawberry, Arkansas.
Ray Fultner and his wife Pam are trying to raise $230,000 to purchase a 25-acre plot of land in Strawberry. Fultner said he has been able to raise nearly $47,000 for the home in the last four months.
"I see lots of troubled lives. I see lots of drugs and people that are bound in addictions. I see a lot of hurting children," said Fultner.
Fultner said he has contacted the Arkansas Department of Human Services to make sure the home is up to regulation. He said the only obstacle standing in his way is funding.
"A lot of these children just want someone to hug them and love them, there's just a lack of need of attention. There are just awesome, wonderful children and they just need a hug. And they need some peace in their life," said Fultner. "Someone that cares out there, we want them to know that the time in their life when they had a clean bed to sleep in and they had plenty of food to eat and they were in an environment where they felt safe."
Fultner is pastor of the First Baptist Church in Jacksonport and was saved nearly seven years ago. He said most everyone in his congregation knows his story.
"There are so many people that know my life and in the last six years, I'm a totally different person," said Fultner. "My addiction when I was very young was drugs and later turned it to alcohol."
Fultner is a first responder and chaplain for Arkansas State Police. He also says he's serving the battled women's shelter and drug court.
"I can relate to because I have had addictions and God has delivered me from them, so my goal in life is to be able to help someone else," said Fultner.
Fultner and his wife came up with the idea for a children's home after realizing children with drug-addicted parents were suffering.
"We see it so much here and we see these children that are, these mommies and daddies don't mean to be this way, it's an addiction and if you've never had an addiction, you don't understand it. These people don't choose this kind of life, but once Satan gets these holes in them, these addictions, they want to be a good mommy and daddy, they just can't," said Fultner. "We want to show them that in their life, this peace that they have when they're with us, we want to surround them with God and let them know that there is a different lifestyle."
The property has a shop, house and two ponds. Fultner said he hopes to bring several different types of animals for children to enjoy and learn about.
"As I seen it, I thought what an awesome place that God could use for these children. Then we went on by and as we went by I thought, preacher you're just dreaming. That's too big, there's no way. But as we would return from where we went, on the other side of that sign, it said with God, all things are possible," said Fultner. "If it's God's will for this to happen, it'll happen. If it's not God's will, I don't want anything to do with it anyway."
Fultner said the property owner has agreed to hold the land until he can raise enough money.
"It's not just one outreach of God, these are God fearing people that own this property and if we get to purchase this property, God's lead them to move up in Missouri to start up another ministry, so it's actually two ministries starting at once," said Fultner.
Fultner hopes to take care of 25 children at one time. The children will be between the ages of 6 and 12.
"Once they are with us they can stay with us until they're 18 if need be," said Fultner.
Jim Cooper said he believes the First Baptist Church in Jacksonport will help raise more money for the Fultner's project. He said he'd like to serve as a grandparent.
"I'm going to be the grandfather at the children's home," said Cooper. "I think it's a very strong possibility that those kids will get into that addiction."
If you would like to donate to the Fultner's dream, contact them at 870-759-1602.
"The account is set up at Iberia Bank in Newport and it's under Little Blessings Children's Home, and anyone who would like to donate to this, we would be tickled to death," said Cooper.