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Winter Coats

Thank You for our new winter coatsIn places such as War, West Virginia, Rogersville, Tennessee and Cleveland, Georgia, temperatures can hover around freezing during the months of January and February for days, or even weeks, at a time.

Now, try to put yourself in the place of a young boy or girl standing out at a bus stop on a cold, blustery winter’s day shivering in at best an old hand-me-down threadbare coat, and perhaps nothing more than a thin sweater or sweatshirt.

In the most poverty-stricken areas of Appalachia, that is far too often the case.

But, this year, in War, Rogersville and Cleveland, and several other locations, there are 1,145 children who are warm and comfortable in their brand-new coats provided by Americans Helping Americans® to our partner organizations including Big Creek People in Action, Of One Accord and Caring Hands Ministries and others. In addition, 700 children received pairs of gloves, scarves and warm winter hats.

Make your donation in support of our programs today!Of course, we know adults, particularly the most senior of our nation’s citizens, need to stay warm too, so that why, through your generous assistance, Americans Helping Americans® has also been able to provide 990 coats for adults and 1,344 blankets to our partner organizations this winter season.

We believe that warm clothing on cold winter days is the best way to prevent colds and flu, and perhaps worse, and at Americans Helping Americans® that warms our hearts.

After-school programs

A little more than 30 miles south of Washington, D.C., there is a community named Triangle, Virginia. Located in Triangle, there is a large low-income apartment complex known as Melrose Apartments.

Make your donation in support of our programs today!But besides being affordable, what may attract many families to choose to live there is its Melrose Community Resource Center (MCRC).

“They also have a community center which helps children who live in the complex with tutoring and other after-school activities,” wrote a resident there since May 2012 in a recent online review of the Melrose.

The after-school program at the MCRC is just one of many that Americans Helping Americans® helps support in low-income areas. This fall, Americans Helping Americans® had the opportunity to visit the center to see the operation in action.

And, boy was it. There were young teens getting their homework completed in the late afternoon with assistance from a local volunteer ready at their beck and call. And there were younger kids all around, several playing age-appropriate learning games in the center’s computer lab.

And then there were others, who just came by to hang out with friends, in a supervised environment, and enjoying an afternoon snack, instead of being a “latch-key” kid, going home to an empty apartment waiting for their parents to get home from work – or worse.

For many kids, such as those at the Melrose, or those who attend other after-school programs supported by Americans Helping Americans® partners around the country, it’s not a place they HAVE to go to, it’s a place where they WANT to be.

For us, knowing that is just another reason why we believe those few hours in the afternoon in a healthy, safe and educational environment makes all the difference in the lives of so many children and young people.

Thank You for our new winter coats

Make your donation in support of our programs today!Life can take unexpected turns, but many in Appalachia lack the resources to prepare for these surprises.

One family we helped fell on hard times when their daughter had a stroke during her sixth month of her pregnancy. The family was living in a trailer with pieces of the floor missing, windows covered by cardboard to keep the rain from coming into the house and to keep the cold weather out. The parents, surviving only on their social security, were able to pay for the extensive medical bills with help from governmental assistance but were unable to pay a bill that is just as important, their heating bill.

Emergency Utilities AssistanceIt is a sad fact that some in Appalachia suffer through cold weather with little or no heat in order to assure other basic needs such as food and medical expenses are met, but what basic need would you choose to go without in desperate times?

The winter months are not over. All around the hollers and hills men, women, and children continue to brave the cold so that they can eat or go to the doctor. You can help take the worry of a monthly utility bill off of the minds of mothers and fathers dealing with much more than the issue of warmth in a home by contributing online or by mailing in your gift today!

Utilities Assistance

Food or heat? Rent or electricity? Life or death?

Make your donation in support of our programs today!Many living in Appalachia have to face these hard choices each day. When choosing to buy food for their children, or pay the rent to avoid eviction, coming up with the money to prevent the utilities from being turned off can be a difficult, if not impossible task.

That’s why Americans Helping Americans®, thanks to your support, is proud to be able to provide emergency utility assistance funding to our partner organizations in Appalachia so that children, families and seniors can keep the lights on and the furnace running – without being forced to make such a choice.

For some with medical needs, such as Baker*, a client of Caring Hands Ministries in Georgia, the loss of electricity could be life threatening. Suffering from cancer and requiring oxygen to live, Baker was facing a disconnect notice from the local utility company, but Americans Helping Americans® stepped in and helped pay his delinquent utility bills.

Thanks to you, Caring Hands Executive Director was able to report to us a note she received from Baker* after his delinquent bill was made current: “We’re going to be all right now. We’re going to make it.”

*Name changed for confidentiality.

Imagine Thanksgiving Day without a hot meal, much less a delicious turkey dinner with stuffing, sweet potatoes, and, of course, pumpkin pie, and eating so much it’s hard to get up from the table.

For many Americans, they don’t have to imagine it – they live it. What most Americans take for granted – sitting around a large table with family and eating their fill – is an unaffordable luxury for the neediest in Appalachia.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Thanks to your support, Americans Helping Americans® is able to provide thousands of frozen turkeys to our partner organizations throughout Appalachia so that for those most in need in our nation Thanksgiving is not just another day – but a day we as a nation are all able to enjoy and give thanks for.

On Veterans Day, we thanked those for their service and sacrifice to our country.

Donate NowBut just because November 11 has come and gone, doesn’t mean that we forget about the former members of the military who struggle day in and day out to put food on their table, or our partners in Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio and Virginia who make that their mission.

This month alone, with the help of generous supporters like you, we were able to ship 216 dry food boxes containing canned fruit and vegetables, beef stew, chili and soup, tomato sauce, pasta and dried beans packaged specifically for veterans to Caring Hands Ministries in Georgia and another 100 more boxes to Arms Outstretched Ministries in Virginia.

“The food boxes make a big difference for those veterans living on fixed incomes,” says Americans Helping Americans® interim executive director Beth Tessema.

And with your continued help, Americans Helping Americans® will be distributing more veterans’ food boxes to our partner organizations as needed – and the need is always there.

Also, with the holidays coming up, a nice big turkey dinner is a luxury many Appalachian families in need cannot afford.

This year, again thanks to the compassion and generosity of our supporters, Americans Helping Americans® has already been able to distribute a total of 2,200 frozen turkeys to our partners Big Creek People in Action in West Virginia, Of One Accord and Appalachian Outreach in Tennessee, Come-Unity Cooperative Care and Cumberland Mountain Outreach in Kentucky, and Arms Outstretched in Virginia, as well as an addition 116 turkeys, with all the fixings, to veterans living in our multi-family affordable housing projects in Tucson, Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona.

With the holiday season nigh upon us, we thank those who have enabled us to help thousands of families enjoy a delicious turkey dinner on Thanksgiving and Christmas day, and hope that you can make a contribution today so many more will be able to “put a turkey on the table” this year as well.

Veteran SupportAlthough Veterans Day is not until Nov. 11, we here at Americans Helping Americans® work to provide assistance every day to those who have sacrificed to serve their country in the most patriotic way possible – through military service – in their time of need.

That includes shipping to our partner organizations hundreds of food boxes packaged specifically for veterans and containing enough non-perishable items such as canned soup, stew, fruits and vegetables, dried beans, rice and instant potatoes to help them get through the month.

Caring Hands Ministries in Cleveland, Georgia, and Come-Unity Cooperative Care in London, Kentucky, are among our partners who distribute the food boxes to veterans received through Americans Helping Americans®.

At Of One Accord, our partner in Rogersville, Tennessee, we were pleased to be able to be on hand this spring as they delivered meals to dozens of veterans – something they do on a daily basis to ensure the veterans in their community have at least one, hot, filling delicious “southern-style” home-cooked meal every weekday.

In addition to food, Americans Helping Americans® is proud to partner with numerous nonprofit organizations in Appalachia to repair roofs, fix floors, install new bathrooms and build handicap ramps for veterans to make their lives in their golden years much easier.

Garden

GardenHere at Americans Helping Americans® we place a high value on the self-sustainability of the programs we support. That is why, this year thanks to your generous donations, we are able to provide a cash grant to Cumberland Mountain Outreach, our partner in Beattyville, Kentucky, to help them expand their gardening program.

Cumberland Mountain Outreach partners with organizations including the University Of Kentucky Department Of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension Office and Grow Appalachia to provide training to families and individuals with a little plot of land on how to best use it for organic gardening.

While education is vital in providing information on efficient gardening techniques, if the family doesn’t have the money to purchase vegetable seeds and plants, it is all for naught .

That’s where you and Americans Helping Americans® comes in. Upon completion of the gardening workshops, clients of Cumberland Mountain Outreach are eligible for a $75 grant to purchase the seed and plants they need in order to have a prosperous garden.

As Cumberland Mountain Outreach Executive Director Cindy Evanoff told us during a visit there in August, not only does a garden provide nutritious food on the table and lead to self-sufficiency, it also instills pride in all members of the family, even the youngest, when they enjoy the bounty of tomatoes, corn, beans and strawberries on their table – all picked fresh, straight out of their very own garden.

In addition, the University of Kentucky in partnership with Cumberland Mountain Outreach, also offers classes on canning and preserving so the gardeners can enjoy the fruits and vegetables even into the cold winter months.

 

Summer Camp

Homework HelpIn War, West Virginia, Americans Helping Americans®’ partner there, Big Creek People in Action (BCPIA), operates a licensed after-school program, even during the summer months when school is not in session.

This summer, BCPIA had 31 kids participate – and while, of course they did not have any schoolwork – they also went on field trips such as to the Crab Orchard Museum in Tazewell, Virginia, where they went on a hayride, enjoyed a picnic lunch, and “graduated” from the small corn maze and tackled the large one. The children, who attend free of charge thanks to funding assistance from Americans Helping Americans®, were also offered expanded learning opportunities through BPCIA’s T.R.A.V.E.L. (Traditions, Research, Arts, Voices, Education, and Learning) program where they are introduced to a different culture every two week.

In addition, another significant reason why the children are so grateful to be able to attend BCPIA’s after-school program during the summer is that they all qualify for free lunches at school, something they don’t get when school is out, but do at BCPIA.

“The full, nutritious meal we feed them every day is an important part of the program,” Timpson told us. “Many of these kids would not receive a hot meal at home if they didn’t attend our program.”

With support from you, we are able to assist BPCIA in its mission to offer the children of McDowell County, West Virginia, the support they need to help them succeed and have a better life.

 

 

 

Home Repair Ramp

Trickle-down economics – from the haves to the have nots – as political theory may have its skeptics, but at Americans Helping Americans® as a moral imperative it’s a founding principle.

We saw it in action this August in Kentucky thanks to our compassionate supporters who were able to share a bit of their wealth so that Americans Helping Americans® through its partners, Come-Unity Cooperative Care and Cumberland Mountain Outreach were able to “trickle-down” resources to those most in need.

People like 89-year-old Eloise who lives in 30-year-old trailer on a rural road outside of London who without a handicap ramp constructed by Come-Unity volunteers and funded by a cash grant from Americans Helping Americans® would be unable to get in out of her own home benefitted this summer by that “trickle-down.”

So did numerous school children who attended Cumberland Mountain Outreach’s  vacation summer camp, received shoes and school supplies from Americans Helping Americans® through Cumberland Mountain Outreach , as did hundreds of children and families, seniors and veterans who received food boxes on a regular basis from Come-Unity due to the “trickle-down” from you, to us, to them.

Americans Helping Americans® was created with the “trickle-down” concept in mind – connecting those with resources with those in need in the most poverty-stricken areas of the country.

And thanks to you, it works.