When they were young, Mrs. McKey’s four daughters loved playing house and games with dolls. Her youngest son had turned four years-old and decided he was too big to play the part of the baby in his sisters’ games. Where were these four girls going to find a baby to play with? Mrs. McKey’s solution was that she and her husband Keith would become foster parents.
Peggy McKey (pronounced Mackey) has lived almost all of her in Mississippi and she is a farm girl at heart. Involved with many organizations and activities that help Mississippi and the world, she is a Christian who also serves as a missionary and Bible teacher. As if that weren’t enough, she has been a foster parent to over fifty children.
Serving through Organizations
Mrs. McKey helps lead several other organizations. She says, “now that all my children have grown up and I don’t have foster kids, I believe this is how I can serve other people. I have the time and energy to do what God calls me to do. I pray hard before committing to something, but I feel like I find my happiness in doing what God calls me to do.”
She is a board member for Bethany Christian Services, which promotes adoption and foster care; she also is on the board of African Scholarship Exchange, which gives scholarships to African students going to school in Africa.
Another activity dear to her heart is farming. She is passionate about farming because she grew up working on a farm. She is a board member of Hinds County Farm Bureau and has an elected position with Mississippi Farm Bureau.
She says, “I think Farm Bureau is a wonderful organization because if our children don’t understand where their food comes from, one day we won’t have any food because no one will want to grow up and be a farmer.”
Serving through her Church
Mrs. McKey can also be seen frequently at work around her church, Edwards Presbyterian Church. She provides transportation and teaches Bible lessons for children at the church’s Tuesday Bible Club. The Bible club is a ministry to mostly at-risk children in Mrs. McKey’s hometown of Edwards. She also takes regular mission trips to Africa and Cambodia, where she ministers to children in very difficult circumstances.
When asked why she loves serving others in the church, she said, “I love the church because Jesus Christ loves the church. It’s his church. He loves people and so he calls us to love people. Serving with children, whether as a foster parent or teacher, is a way of doing Christ’s work of loving people.”
Serving as a Foster Parent
During Mrs. McKey’s years as a foster parent, she fostered thirty-five babies and nineteen pregnant teenagers. Many people know Mrs. McKey as an amazing woman who tirelessly served as a foster parent for so many needy children. She thinks adoption and foster-parenting are important.
She says, “Most of the young women who came to live with my husband and me didn’t know their fathers. In fact, only one of the nineteen who lived with us ever knew their fathers, so they weren’t in a happy home with two parents. And they weren’t married themselves, so they were facing the same type of lives for their children than they had when they grew up. Most of them were not out of school and didn’t have a way to earn a living. Many of these girls were counseled and realized their babies would probably be better off with a family with a mom and a dad and a job.” By foster parenting, Mrs. McKey helped both the mothers and their children by allowing them to find stable homes.
Mrs. McKey finds her inspiration for serving others through her faith. She thinks parents should consider adopting both for the happiness of children and for themselves and because adoption is a picture of what Christianity is all about: “I think you can look at the Bible and see that we are adopted into God’s family. His only begotten Son is Jesus, and the rest of us, through Christ, are adopted into his family. So I think the Bible gives us a picture of adoption. And there are many couples who can’t have children, so adoption completes their family and brings them happiness. So I think it’s a wonderful, wonderful event on both sides – both for the woman who is not ready to parent and for the couple who is longing for a baby.”
Devoted to Others
Not many people serve in the way Peggy McKey does. Maybe you think you are only one person and you can’t make a difference in this world. But imagine what the world would be like if we could all find things we are passionate about and instead of just using or enjoying those things for ourselves, we used those things to help others.
Eden Cross is 11 and attends St. Augustine School in Ridgeland, Mississippi. She has studied at The Well Writers Guild for three months. The Well Writers Guild is the mother organization of Mississippi Matters. It is devoted to finding and mentoring promising young writers like Eden, whose future as a writer is very bright! Congratulations Eden on your first published work!