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!