Providing Holiday Meals Across Appalachia

Providing Holiday Meals Across Appalachia

Each year for more than 20 years, thanks to the supporters of Americans Helping Americans® we have been able to ensure that thousands of children, parents and seniors have a nice turkey meal with all the trimmings over the holiday season.

Among our partners who hosts holiday meals is Big Creek People in Action in distressed McDowell County, West Virginia, which served a total of 962 people last year including 388 children, 574 adults, 90 female heads of households, 162 senior citizens and 20 veterans, according to BCPIA co-executive director Marsha Timpson.

“McDowell County is listed as the most food insecure county in West Virginia with more than 22 percent of residents struggling to find a consistent stream of meals. We served many of these people with a turkey as well as a food box and gifts.

 

“As each year passes with these parties, I seem to become more sentimental about them. I caught my self looking around at each of the parties (we have three parties in one day) and thinking how we are so intertwined with the families that we were serving for Christmas. The ties that bind us together!”

This year, the holiday is fast approaching and with your help our goal is to more than 6,500 people in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia by providing BCPIA and our other partners with grant funding in order to enable them to purchase the turkeys and food boxes in their own communities, thereby supporting the local economy.

“Many of these families wouldn’t spend the extra money to buy a turkey because of all their other expenses at Christmas,” Marsha continued. “It is a comforting feeling to know that we are able to help them have a good Christmas and lasting memories.”

Please help us ensure that these thousands have a happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas this year by giving what you can today.

Success Story: Jennifer Shelton

Success Story: Jennifer Shelton

Thanks to the supporters of Americans Helping Americans® our partner in West Virginia, Big Creek People in Action (BCPIA), is able to provide tutors to students at the McDowell County Career and Technology Center (MCCTC).

Students have a wide variety of programs to choose from, including automotive technology, building maintenance, coding apps and game design, computer systems/hardware support, early childhood education, law and public safety, licensed practical nursing, small engine repair, welding, and more.

In 2010, MCCTC school counselor Katie Linkous noticed that some of the students at the career and technology center were deficient in basic math and reading skills. After reaching out to BCPIA, together, they arranged a partnership to fill the need for remedial courses.

This led individual career and technical course assistance, pre-preparation for pre- and post- National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) testing, assistance with OSHA-10 (offering 10 hours of training for all construction and general industry professionals) and WIN online learning for earning a ready-to-work credential for jobs across occupations and industries.

In 2018-2019, 99 percent of student scores increased from pre-NOCTI benchmark tests in the fall, followed by an audit post-test in the spring prior to the student completing the program. Five of these students received a Governor’s Workforce Credential for meeting such high standards.

Among the success stories is the MCCTC’s graduation speaker in 2019, Jennifer Shelton. Jennifer completed the practical nursing program and went on to become an RN then earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) which are typically given more responsibility, supervisory roles and higher salaries.

Jennifer is currently completing classes to become a nurse practitioner and has chosen to stay in McDowell County now working at a local health clinic in a supervisory position.

“She is just one of many success stories.”

Introducing the Americans Helping Americans – Helper of the Month Award!

Introducing the Americans Helping Americans – Helper of the Month Award!

We would like to acknowledge Brent and Candice Duncil as recipients of the Americans Helping Americans – Helper of the Month award! Congrats Brent and Candice!

Brent and Candice are both teachers in Kentucky who go above and beyond the call of duty every day to make sure their students are excelling in and out of school. Recently, Ms. Duncil noticed a student who would cry every day when it was time to go home. After talking to the boy, she discovered he was sad because he had little food at home, no bed, and no T.V. She contacted our partner, the Lee County Family Resource Center and together, they were able to take the family grocery shopping as well as buy them household items, clothing, and educational toys.

Mr. Duncil is also a volunteer school bus driver. Because he helps out on field trips and weekend routes, he saves the school money so that they can afford to take students on more educational trips and have the funds to provide food.

Together, they are a community-helping force! They started a campaign to help a family raise money to send a loved one to Cancer Centers of America to get treatment. They were able to raise the funds necessary for the family to visit the facility several times. Although the treatment was unsuccessful, Mr. and Mrs. Duncil helped the family through the funeral and organized food to be taken to the home and a dinner after the funeral.

The Duncils are a family who work together, pray together, and help others together. Their oldest son is serving in the Marines and has just returned from Iraq. They are all very giving within their classrooms and within their community. They are raising their children to be respectful, helpful, and kind to others. They give their time, money, and abilities and ask nothing in return. We need more families like the Duncils in our communities. Thank you for dedication!

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® Supports Appalachian Outreach Back-to-School Bash

Americans Helping Americans® Supports Appalachian Outreach Back-to-School Bash

“Everything is free” at Americans Helping Americans® partner Appalachian Outreach’s “Back-to-School Bash” in Jefferson City, Tennessee.

“This is a fun community event to help kick off the school year,” explained Appalachian Outreach Executive Director Jean-Ann Washam. “All school-age children in Jefferson and Grainger counties can attend and receive a new backpack full of school supplies.”

In addition to the school supplies, there were plenty of fun activities for the children including moon bounces, face painting, games, and plenty of treats such as popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones.

For the parents, who were relieved of the burden of trying to figure out how they were going to pay for their children’s school supplies, several local assistance agencies set up informational tables to inform them of what services might be available to them.

The children were so excited and happy to receive their new school supplies, including first-grader Emma, who upon receiving hers, exclaimed “I can’t wait to start school!”

Kate, a mother of four, commented, “With four kids it is very hard to afford all the school supplies they need. This event is a big help to my family.”

“Thank you for all you do to support Appalachian Outreach and this event,” said Jean-Ann. “Without Americans Helping Americans® many families in our area would struggle to provide needed school supplies for their children.”