Feeding Our Families” food boxes will feed 1,150 hungry families

Feeding Our Families” food boxes will feed 1,150 hungry families

They are called “Pallets of Hope” for good reason because that is exactly what they are for worried and hungry families in the most distressed regions of Appalachia.

This month, we plan to ship boxes containing five pounds each of frozen chicken and sausage, all-beef hot dogs, vegetables, and desserts, enough to feed a family of four two meals a day for two weeks to our partners.

For these desperate families already struggling in “normal” times, these days, weeks, months of the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the country, are anything but.

Our goal is to be able to send 1,150 of these frozen food boxes to to our partners including LAMP Ministries and the Community Helping Hands Clinic (which will deliver the boxes to a local food bank and church for distribution to their clients and parishioners) in Georgia, Come-Unity Cooperative Care and the Lee County Family Resource Center in Kentucky, Appalachian Outreach in Tennessee, and Big Creek People in Action in West Virginia.

But we need your help.

By being able to purchase these food boxes in large quantities we are able to keep the cost low — $34 each — much less than it would cost a family to purchase all this food at a local grocery store, even if it was available with meat processing plants being shut down across the country.

Those who will be receiving the food boxes will not only be relieved of the stress of wondering how they would put food on the dinner table when so many bills are due, especially among those fathers and mothers who have lost their jobs, already low-wage to begin with, and now have no income now whatsoever.

In April, thanks to our supporters, we were able to ship five Pallets of Hope containing hygiene items including dental kits, diapers for growing families with infants and toddlers — and especially critical — potentially lifesaving bars of soap and hand sanitizer, with three more pallets slated to go out this month.

You have no doubt seen on the news the hundreds of cars lining up at food pantries across the country of people in need of supplemental food, but in these small, rural communities there is often no other place for these families to turn to but our partners.

 

Congratulations to Linda Smith – Helper of the Month for April!

Congratulations to Linda Smith – Helper of the Month for April!

We would like to acknowledge Linda Smith as the recipient of the Americans Helping Americans® – Helper of the Month award for April! Congratulations, Linda!

We heard about Linda from our partner, Sherry Lanham of the Lee County Family Resource Center in Lee County, Kentucky. According to Sherry, “Linda, her husband Bob and their son Josh own the local newspaper–Three Forks Tradition but they are the backbone of our community, especially Linda.” Sherry told us that this month, she has worked so hard to organize events to keep the Lee County community in good spirits while the COVID-19 virus has many people “down and out.”

As a show of support for the high school’s seniors who may not have a graduation ceremony this year, Linda was instrumental in raising money to buy signs with all of their names and placed them in the center of town and around the high school.

She is also working with the school to provide a gift for seniors every Friday, ranging from a pizza lunch to gift cards. The seniors pull up in their car and are handed a special gift from the community. This past Saturday she helped organize an antique car parade that drove all over the community and around the nursing home to help lift the spirits of those who cannot leave their residence.   

For over 25 years, she has been the chairperson of Lee County’s local “Woolly Worm Festival” that is held each October. Despite the fact that these are uncertain times, she is already working on the upcoming festival. Linda always gives the Lee County Family Resource Center free coverage when they do a school activity or one sponsored by Americans Helping Americans.

This year, Lee County will celebrate their 150th anniversary and she has worked hard to start this event since January.  Sherry says, “She had plans for monthly activities but those are on hold at this time.”  

In March, just prior to Kentucky’s shutdown, the resource center held a community event to celebrate some of their residents, churches and other community members who had lived in the town for a long time. Linda managed to get plaques, flowers, cakes and have the entire event organized and ready.

Linda truly embodies the spirit of a hometown hero. She and her husband both have numerous health problems but that doesn’t stop her from attending every community event, working hard and making sure those who need help in the community get what they need.

In addition to serving as Woolly Worm Chair, she serves on Lee County’s Friends helping Friends committee, Museum Committee, Natural Bridge State Park council, July 4th Committee, Trick or Treat on Main Committee, Tree of Love at Christmas, works with the local volunteer firefighters to raise money for their needs, and still finds time to help anyone who asks her for a minute.

Sherry concluded by saying, “She truly deserves to be recognized for all her efforts in our community.”


The Helper of the Month Award is designed to show the amazing, wonderful, hard-working, and dedicated people in the Appalachian communities we serve every day. Each month, we’ll be sharing these stories with you in the hopes that you’ll walk away as inspired as we are to do good things in your community!

Americans Helping Americans Doubles Our Efforts Amidst the Coronavirus

Americans Helping Americans Doubles Our Efforts Amidst the Coronavirus

At Americans Helping Americans, our partners throughout Appalachia strive to project what the most pressing needs will be for those most in need in their communities in terms of food, basic needs, education and more, for the year ahead. 

 

But no one could have anticipated the hardships that would be imposed on those families and seniors already struggling to get by in these times of the coronavirus pandemic. 

 Our grassroots partners have limited means, few staff, and we’re already stretched to their limits in operating their programs, and we understand that even the best-laid plans can go awry. 

 

Within the past week, we have been hearing from many of them as they have been forced to cancel well-established programs for the foreseeable future as other dire needs have emerged. 

 

In these extraordinary times, they must adapt, and we are giving them the flexibility to use their grant funding to adjust the services they offer to put these resources to best use. 

 

For our partner in Beattyville, Kentucky, Cumberland Mountain Outreach, which has for many years operated a popular free summer camp for children and youth, the tough, but necessary, decision to cancel camp this summer had to be made. 

 

Among the benefits of the summer camp program for the older youth is its Teens in a Leadership program in which the youth who had attended the camp for several years as children are put into mentorship roles providing the younger children a positive role model to look up to. 

 

Instead, this year, these promising teens will be contributing to their community through service projects, such as delivering food boxes door-to-door to senior citizens and the disabled this summer. 

 

 When a partner inquired as to whether we had much-in-demand face masks, it turned out that we had a few thousand on hand which we could provide them. 

AHA COVID19 RESPONSE MASKS

 While non-perishable food boxes will always be in demand, we are also receiving numerous requests from our partners for soap and other personal hygiene items, as well as disposable diapers.  So, we have adjusted our focus as well and will soon be shipping thousands of bars of soap, diapers and other items in the knowledge that sadly, this is likely just the beginning of a long, difficult summer. 

 

None of what we do, and a lot of what our partners do, would be possible without the generosity of Americans Helping Americans whose support we, and our partners and their clients, rely on month after month, year after year. 

 

These are uncharted waters, but with your help, we are helping thousands of our fellow Americans steer their way through the storm and make it the calmer waters we have faith are coming in the months to follow. 

Gardening Programs Must Go On Despite Pandemic

Gardening Programs Must Go On Despite Pandemic

Despite the concern about the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, people in Appalachia still have to eat — particularly healthy foods such as vegetables and fruits they are able to grow in their own backyard or 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 disturbing of times.

And as they are, so are we at Americans Helping Americans in the knowledge that they are counting on us to continue our financial support to assist them in helping those in their communities with establishing their gardens as the growing season is just getting ready to begin.

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 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 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.”

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 located in what is known as a “food desert” where the nearest actual grocery store is miles away.

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

 

Americans Helping Americans’ Partners Continue Services Despite Pandemic

Americans Helping Americans’ Partners Continue Services Despite Pandemic

Throughout Appalachia, our fellow citizens in distressed communities struggle to get by even when times are good — and with the current coronavirus pandemic things are certainly far from good.

Among the things these people count on the partners of Americans Helping Americans for are supplemental food to get through the month, relieving them of the stress of having to choose between paying rent, purchasing their prescription medicines, keeping their lights on, or putting food on the table.

For example, in Gainesville, Georgia, Mary Mauricio, executive director of our longtime partner there, LAMP Ministries just reported that instead of having her clients come to their office to pick up food boxes as they had in the past, Mary and her team of volunteers are out and about delivering food boxes to grateful families in the lowest income neighborhoods in the community.

In Cleveland, Georgia, our partner Caring Hands Ministries is doing the same for their most vulnerable elderly clients, providing food, and perhaps equally important, a lifeline to the outside world where Caring Hands volunteers are the only people they can count on in time of need or even emergencies.

And in Welch, West Virginia, one of our newest partners, 5 Loaves & 2 Fishes has expanded its operations with longer hours and its volunteers are bringing the food boxes to the clients’ cars, rather than have them come into the building. With support from Americans Helping Americans these families are able to receive fresh meats, in addition to non-perishable food items and fresh produce.

We commend our partners for their selfless service in these stressful times of great need, and thank our supporters for making this all possible.