Donna lives in low-income housing in Beattyville, Kentucky, a distressed region of Appalachia where Americans Helping Americans® partner there, Cumberland Mountain Outreach, serves those most in the hard-hit community.

Donna is a single mother struggling to raise three children on a meager fixed income who came to Cumberland Mountain Outreach for help this fall when she had nowhere else to turn for assistance paying her utility bill.

“What money I did have had to go to pay rent, buy groceries, and buy school clothes – which I bought from second-hand stores,” she told us.

She had come to Cumberland Mountain Outreach the day her electricity had been cut off – for a lack of $25!

She had first tried a regional community services action agency which serves several area counties include Lee where she lives which operates an emergency food and shelter program (including utility assistance), another local non-profit agency, and even the county government seeking help – “with no luck of getting help.

“I am on a prepay account so $25 may not seem to be a lot of money to most people but it helped me out tremendously.”

Donna explained that not only does she have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) but she needs to use a machine to help her breathe – which, of course, runs on electricity.

In addition, one of her daughters is on medication which must be refrigerated at all times.

To the supporters of Americans Helping Americans® who made it possible for Cumberland Mountain Outreach – her last hope – to pay the $25 to the local utility company to restore her electricity, Donna had these words:

“I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this help. I will be able to cook my kids a hot meal and they can have hot baths and not worry about going to school and being made fun of for being dirty.

“Thank you for your generosity!”

According to Cumberland Mountain Outreach CEO and president Cindy Evanoff, since last June thanks to grant funding from Americans Helping Americans® she has been able to help 63 people with utility assistance including 37 adults (among them a U.S. military service veteran) and 26 children.

“Families on low or no income need help to keep their utilities on until family helps or their next government check,” she explained.

Through the Americans Helping Americans® utility assistance program “Families will not lose the food in their refrigerators, or be removed from government housing or have to live in a cold home in the winter months.

“It may not seem like much to you and me, but to a struggling mother with two kids and only KTAP (Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program) support it is everything to keep her little ones safe and the family together.

“The people of the Appalachian region are very grateful for the supporters of Americans Helping Americans®. This grant not only helps to keep the lights on and their homes warm, but it helps keep food fresh and from ruining in the refrigerator due to no electricity.

“It also helps with health issues. For people who are on oxygen on breathing machines like Donna, having electricity is literally a lifesaver.”