n McDowell County, West Virginia the weather forecast for November 19 calls for a low of 24 degrees and snow showers, and that’s just the start of a frigid winter to come in that mountainous region of Appalachia where the average low in December is 24 and 21 in January –  not including the wind chill factor!

Each year, Americans Helping Americans® distributes 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 the supporters of Americans Helping Americans®, 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, described by The New York Times as one of the “hardest places in the country to live,” our partner there, the Lee County Family Resource Center located in the local elementary school, distributed hundreds of coats to students in the fall, and keeps 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 for the first time with the knowledge that they will not be standing shivering in a threadbare hand-me-down at the bus stop this winter.

“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®.

“Please tell them I said thank you so much.”