Up in the mountains and hills of Kentucky, people believe that a strong predictor of the severity of the coming winter is reflected in the brown and black stripes of a small little creature known as the woolly worm. The lighter brown a segment is, the milder that week of winter will be. The darker black a segment is, the colder and snowier the corresponding week will be.
Each year, the community of Beattyville, Kentucky comes together to host the annual woolly worm festival filled with parades, craft vendors, woolly worm races, a car show, great food and live entertainment to celebrate the coming of the winter season. While outsiders in other states may not have heard of this tiny town’s festival; thousands of residents as far as Lexington, Kentucky travel to experience the warmth of community spirit and the unique sites and sounds
(continued) While some parents and children were able to purchase the crafts and goods from festival vendors; there were many families with children roaming without shoes and heads down, embarrassed that they had no money to purchase the shiny trinkets as they passed by each booth. Americans Helping Americans®’ Executive Director Lynn Thomas and Program Coordinator Paige Mowry traveled up the mountain this past October to fill in the gap and pass out new backpacks filled with pencils, crayons, scissors, paper and other school necessities as well as hygiene kits, tee-shirts and hand knit hats and gloves made directly from the love of AHA supporters for folks who were not able to take away reminders of the community festival.
While Ms. Thomas pulled the children off the streets to play the game, Paige and the rest of the AHA volunteers worked together to grab goodies and give away items as fast as possible with tiny tots and full grown teens all lined up to win the prizes. The smiles and excitement on these children’s faces could be spotted for miles! Siblings competed with sly grins to try and pick the biggest and best prizes (with AHA volunteers assisting to make sure each child went home happy). Parents and grandparents looked at staff with relieved amazement exclaiming, “You are giving this away for free? God bless you!”
With the help of Americans Helping Americans® friends and supporters, more than 650 children walked away from the Woolly Worm Festival with pride at the brand new prizes and school supplies they received from staff that day. We would like to extend a big thank you to all those who gave from the love of their hearts to ensure that children did not go with school supplies, hygiene kits and clothes to fight against the cold this year.