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.

Digital Divide Update

Digital Divide Update

Technology has a foothold in every aspect of today’s society but many children in the heart of Appalachia are getting left behind as for their parents a computer and internet service is simply a “luxury” they cannot afford. Last year, Americans Helping Americans® launched a pilot program to bridge the digital divide and supplied 24 elementary students in Beattyville, Kentucky with desktop computers for use at home. Because of the great success of the program, we saw the children improve their grades on assignments and keep in touch via email with their teachers on days they were sick or school was closed due to inclement weather! Feedback from teachers is that the computers provided to the students allowed the children to further educate themselves and research topics of interest to them. The students were able to get deep into a topic, gather more details, and use that information to support their answers with low-cost internet service in a partnership between the school and AT&T.

The students love to learn with computers. It’s fun for them! They can play online learning games to help with lessons and they become more tech savvy! Americans Helping Americans® is extremely proud of the students’ accomplishments and this year we were able to send an additional 30 computers to new students!

Among the 75 letters from children requesting their reason for needing a computer are:

“Most of the time I struggle on tests, but with this computer, I could study much more fluently and do better on tests.” – Kalib

“One way in which a computer would be beneficial to me is to be able to work on my online school problems. I could work on my Lexia, to build on my reading and math comprehension. I could do my Moby Max, an online max and reading program. I could study islands which helps learn about social studies.” – Kaison

“My first reason is teacher communication. I could e-mail questions if I am having trouble with my work. I could complete assignments that I have missed if I was ill. I could also facetime or skype my teachers if I need to.” –Allyson

Americans Helping Americans® is proud of your support to our programs like this! We hope to provide computers to entire schools and train the next generation of tech-savvy children in the years to come so they can have bright futures and sharp minds. Computer Science opportunities are always increasing and who knows, maybe you helped the next Bill Gates get their very first computer.

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 fellow Americans in Puerto Rico

Helping fellow Americans in Puerto Rico

Last night, we joined the efforts of the First Lady of Puerto Rico by donating $5,000 to assist in meeting the basic survival needs of food, clothing, and shelter of the people of Puerto Rico, and to help facilitate the rebuilding of lives and communities.

We stand with the people of Puerto Rico in their rebuilding efforts, and we commend the First Lady for her quick action in raising support for the Unidos por Puerto Rico Fund.

Helping our fellow Americans has been, and will continue to be, our mission.