It’s cold out there

It’s cold out there

It’s cold out there.

Many of us turn the heat up and remain cozy at home when it gets cold. But for too many Appalachian families that’s not the case. Our emergency utility assistance program has helped hundreds of families stay warm. It has helped senior citizens and families with young children to heat their home on the coldest days of winter. Sometimes they had to choose between paying their electric bill or putting food on the table.

After working with our partners over the years we’ve learned that our program also helps prevents homelessness.

In some cases, there are times that if the rent is paid in full, landlords will evict tenants who have their utilities cut off. Not only is there is a fear that pipes on their properties could freeze and burst in unheated apartments, but there is also a belief that because they could not pay their electric bill that month, they may not be able to pay their rent the next.

Parents could lose temporary custody of their children. The state human services agencies will not allow children to remain in a home without utilities. Which means that the children will be taken and put in foster care until the situation.
For most Americans, the thought of losing their home, or worse, their children, because of an unpaid electric bill is unimaginable
Not for these families.

Providing shoes for children in Appalachia

Providing shoes for children in Appalachia

In hard-hit places like Beattyville, Kentucky, it’s not uncommon for Sherry Lanham, director of the Lee County Family Resource Center (LCFRC), located in the town’s elementary school, to see students walking into the building wearing ill-fitting worn out hand-me-down shoes in the middle of winter

In her office closet, she keeps dozens of pairs of shoes in many sizes and colors on hand provided through our Barefeet Program for situations just like that.

In many cases, the shoes are the first brand-new pair all their own that the student has ever received.

Most Americans do not consider a pair of shoes a “luxury” item, but for some families, it is an unaffordable luxury when there are bills that must be paid and food put on the table – especially when there is a “perfectly good” pair to hand down from an older sibling or even parent.

This year, we will be distributing a total of 1,800 pairs of shoes to the LCFRC and our partners in West Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia, but we need your help.

 

2017…what a year it was.

2017…what a year it was.

 

 

With the help of many generous supporters, we continued our mission to reach Appalachian families. Through their gifts, our friends had a profound impact in Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Virginia, Arkansas, Maryland, Alabama, Florida, Ohio, and Mississippi.

For example, 23,998 individuals and children benefited from in-kind donations. And, in Tennessee alone, 12,464 summer meals were served to children through the Lunch Bus program – benefitting about 400 children who received at least one healthy, filling lunch each weekday while school was out for vacation. Children also had the opportunity to attend after-school and summer enrichment camps, adults received vocational training, hundreds of individuals benefited from our home repair and utility assistance program, and hundreds of our nation’s veterans received food support.

This is a just a small sample of our friends’ impact, and we couldn’t have done any of this without their support.

Thank you for all you do.

Thank you for the Coats

Thank you for the Coats

The frigid days of winter are already upon the communities in the mountainous regions of Appalachia. That’s why each year, we distribute thousands of coats and winter accessories to our partners, such as Big Creek People in Action (BCPIA) in McDowell County, and others in the Appalachian regions of Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and elsewhere.

Last December, thanks to our supporters, we were able to provide hundreds of heavy winter coats which BCPIA distributed to the neediest children and adults in their community.

“We recently had a free giveaway and were able to offer coats, shoes, and hats. I am sure many people would not think of this as a big thing – but it is a big thing in our community,” reported BCPIA co-executive director Marsha Timpson.

In Beattyville, Kentucky, our partner, the Lee County Family Resource Center located in the local elementary school, distributed hundreds of coats to students in the fall. They keep a reserve supply on hand for those cold winter days when a child shows up for school without any kind of coat or jacket.

Through our “Coats for Americans” initiative, we strive to supply our partners with enough coats to meet their ever-increasing demands.

Nothing gives them, and us, more satisfaction than seeing the huge smile on the face of a child when they put on their very own brand-new colorful new coat.

“I want to thank Big Creek People In Action for the winter coats they have given out this year,” said Brandi. “Every time I have gone to Big Creek People In Action they have signs posted that the coats came from Americans Helping Americans®.

Helping to feed families this Thanksgiving

Helping to feed families this Thanksgiving

Imagine Thanksgiving with no food. With nothing special to give your kids or grandkids on a day when millions celebrate with beautiful meals. That is the reality for so many children and families in Appalachia. But it doesn’t have to be this way.Thanks to our supporters, in 2016, we were able to distribute 31,534 pounds of frozen turkey to our partners in Appalachia. That means that thousands of children and adults, who would have otherwise gone without, were able to enjoy a festive meal.

How you can help

A Turkey from you means so much more than a meal. A turkey on Thanksgiving means family, community, shared good times, and one evening of knowing that the family can gather and enjoy a full, wholesome, traditional meal without any worries – even if for just one day. Your generous support will ensure that families won’t have to make a choice – buy groceries for a week, or bust their budget for a once-a-year Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving will be here before you know it, and these families need you!

A Lunch Bus Thank You

A Lunch Bus Thank You

“Thank you for helping make this possible,” says Rev. Sheldon Livesay, executive director of the grassroots organization Of One Accord which operates the buses with support from Americans Helping Americans®. “We’re providing close to 300 to 400 meals per day.”