As the COVID-10 (coronavirus) pandemic continues, residents in Appalachia still need help and children still need to eat – particularly healthy foods such as vegetables and fruits that families are able to grow in their backyard or in neighborhood community gardens.

Among our newest partners are Sprouting Hope in Marion, Virginia and Refresh Appalachia in Huntington, West Virginia, which are soldiering on as best they can even in these most worrisome of times.

Knowing that they count on Americans Helping Americans and our loyal helpers, we will aid them to establish their gardens to help their communities.

That’s why, thanks to a supporter who wishes to remain anonymous, for the first time we are able to announce our “Garden Match” program in which every dollar contributed by people like you will be doubled by this generous donor.

Sprouting Hope’s mission is to feed the community by growing and sharing healthy produce, with the vision of everyone having access to healthy food. With the Homegrown program, 10 families will be able to learn how to operate a successful garden in their own backyard, benefiting the family and the neighborhood!

“With a focus on serving and empowering low-income individuals, we not only give a fish but also teach how to fish by making the program accessible for participants to work and learn in the garden,” states Sprouting Hope on its website.

Program coordinator Mandy Hart reported this week that the organization’s operations have not been affected by COVID 19 yet, although they are taking precautions including putting its Homegrowers course online making it available to residents in the community.

“The Homegrown program will continue,” says Mandy. “We just have to get a bit more creative.”

This month, participants began planting the seeds in trays at a local high school greenhouse so the seedlings will be ready for planting following the final frost of the season.

Upcoming classes focus on soil fertility, including soil tests, transplanting their seedlings from trays into bigger pots as they mature, basic gardening skills including demonstrations of the proper use of gardening tools, planting, hoeing and mulching, followed in June with learning about common gardening problems including pests, diseases and more.

In Huntington, Refresh Appalachia, with support from Americans Helping Americans, is working to create a garden on an unused tract at a community center in a low-income public housing community. This area is known as a “food desert” – the nearest actual grocery store is miles away and many residents don’t have access to transportation.

These projects are vital to the health and wellbeing of the residents in the communities, and they MUST go on!

And with your help, these communities will become more resilient with fresh local food, food security, with the potential to provide additional income to families and individuals.

Please, if you can, give today to our Garden Match and remember, every dollar you contribute is doubled!

Thank you, and be safe!