Roy, his wife, and their two adult sons are all disabled for one reason or another.
Living together in the small West Virginia community of Cucumber (pop. 94, and the only community in the U.S. with this name), Roy came to Americans Helping Americans® partner serving McDowell County, Big Creek People in Action (BCPIA), requesting help for their bathroom.
“They sure needed it,” BCPIA co-executive director Marsha Timpson told us. “I don’t think I have ever encountered a bathtub in this condition. They have sulfur water and it is bad, but geez!
In March, volunteer college students from the Universities of Richmond and Notre Dame came in and tore out and replaced the flooring, replaced the ceiling and walls and installed a new tub along with new fixtures and plumbing as well.
When the job was completed, Marsha provided with the family with a supply of heavy-duty tub and shower cleanser designed to remove stubborn stains and mineral deposits and urged the family to use it at least once or twice a week.
“Hopefully, they will,” she commented.
Jimmy has now spent the last two West Virginia winters living in his truck, even though he owns what is technically a “house” in the tiny community of Shaft Holler.
But if our partner Big Creek People in Action (BCPIA) co-executive director Marsha Timpson who serves the community there has anything to say about it, he has spent the last of his winters of surviving the frigid nights in his truck.
“We are doing our best to make sure he won’t spend third,” said Marsha, noting that Jimmy has diabetes, high blood pressure, and other ailments. “He is in a wheelchair and I can’t believe he made it through this harsh winter in that truck.”
In March, students from the University of Richmond descended on McDowell County and spent several days working on making his home habitable, as well as starting construction of a handicap ramp which will allow him to enter and exit his home with ease.
Although the house itself needs “A LOT OF WORK,” Marsha decided that the first priority was to get the handicap ramp constructed for Jimmy “because if we get it up then we can rig up the front room and kitchen for him. It won’t be much for a while – but it is better than sitting in the truck day and night. I know that has to be hard on his legs and circulation.”
The Richmond students got a good start on the ramp but didn’t have enough time to finish it. In May, a group of students from Centre College in Kentucky will be there to continue working on Jimmy’s ramp.
This project is just one of many that we at Americans Helping Americans® support with financial grants enabling Marsha to purchase the much-needed lumber and other building materials and supplies necessary to do the work on homes such as Jimmy’s throughout the county.
But without our loyal and generous supporters who make that possible, Jimmy and so many others we have helped for the past many years and will be helping this year and for years to come, he might well be still living in that old truck.
Today we would like to celebrate International Women’s Day with you by sharing the story of a truly remarkable woman and her even more remarkable work.
Ann Fleming is a woman with a mission – a mission she’s had since 1995 when she founded Caring Hands Ministries with her husband Charles Fleming and the late Mervin Caudell to help people in northeast Georgia with emergency assistance including food, utility assistance, homeless prevention, job readiness, self-sufficiency and community programs such as their annual community Christmas dinner for over 600 people.
Ann leads an all-volunteer ministry serving more than 4,000 people each year and we are proud to be one of their long-term partners assisting with cash grants for assistance in paying utility bills, as well in-kind items such as winter coats, blankets, and shoes, and more.
And this is what Ann wants our supporters to know: “You are not only meeting needs you are changing lives and, more often than you might think, you are saving lives.”
For those in Appalachia who are struggling to put food on the table for their children and themselves, and praying they don’t get sick because they can’t afford the medical bills, dental care is almost nonexistent on their list of priorities.
The result, particularly in Appalachia, is that children develop cavities, even before their adult teeth come in. The impact of poor dental health on academic achievement is profound, and we want to set these children up for success.
This is why we created the #Mighty Molars program. We work with partners in Kentucky, West Virginia and elsewhere to provide children with “Mighty Molar” dental kits.
Each kit contains:
- dental floss picks
- information about proper dental hygiene
Children will learn the importance of taking care of their teeth at a young age – before it’s too late.
Our goal is to remove barriers to academic success and health for children in Appalachia.