Why dental health matters

Why dental health matters

Poor dental health is not only painful for children, but is also correlated to persistent poverty. As noted in the New York Times – “Experts have long observed that people’s teeth both reflect and reinforce poverty.”

This is why we work so hard to ensure good dental health for children in Appalachia. Living in some of the poorest regions of the country, these children get stuck in a cycle of poverty that is due, in part, to poor dental health.

· Children without access to dental care must often go to the emergency room when decay has gone too far, missing days at school.

· Teens can find challenges entering the workforce, at times hesitant to seek work in a public setting where they feel stigmatized by their discolored or broken teeth.

To address this problem, we started Mighty Molars. With the help of our partners, we are able to distribute toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, and information about proper dental hygiene. This ‘small’ investment pays big dividends for children in Appalachia, by providing better health and a brighter future.

By helping to make ‘mighty molars,’ we hope to help alleviate poverty, one smile at a time.

Utility Assistance Program Saves Woman and Four-Legged Best Friend from Homelessness

Utility Assistance Program Saves Woman and Four-Legged Best Friend from Homelessness

“Somebody does care ‘bout an old woman and her dog,” Ms. Stella told us after worrying about how to pay her power bill last winter.

She and her four-legged companion Joe literally could’ve been out on the street as public housing will evict a tenant if their electricity or heat is shut off. Joe had gotten sick and she made the choice to take him to the vet, and even though the vet gave her a very reduced price for the dog’s medicine and didn’t charge her for the office visit, for Ms. Stella $37 was the difference in being able to pay her electric bill in full.

“I know what would happen to me – they’d put me out and stick me in a home someplace,” she said. “I know what would happen to Joe too, a sick old dog, they’d kill him. He would never be adopted.”

“But me and Joe we need each other,” she added. “He wakes me up every morning and he is the reason that I do get up. You saved two lives when you helped me with that power bill.”

But that’s not the end of the story. Our partner there Caring Hands Ministries was able to put her in touch with a church group that will bring Ms. Stella supper once a week and visits with her.

And as for old Joe, Caring Hands reached out to the local humane society which is helping her with the cost of his food, medicine, and shots.

New Year’s Resolution: To Continuing Caring for Our Fellow Americans Every Day, All Year Long

New Year’s Resolution: To Continuing Caring for Our Fellow Americans Every Day, All Year Long

At the start of every new year, millions of Americans make resolutions such as to eat healthier and exercise more, but as the days and weeks of January pass by their resolve to keep those resolutions falls by the wayside as old habits return.

Such is not the case at Americans Helping Americans®. Each year, we resolve to provide after school and summer camp opportunities for kids, rehab, repair houses and trailers of the elderly and disabled so they can continue to live in the home they love, provide basic needs for our fellow citizens down on their luck for whom a pair of shoes, a winter coat – even a box of laundry detergent – is an unaffordable “luxury,” and much more.

And thanks to our supporters who year in and year out who resolve to make a gift to Americans Helping Americans® to benefit others in need, it’s a resolution we have been able to keep every day for over 20 years and with your help it’s a resolution we will able to continue to keep for many years to come.

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.