Right now and through the winter, our utility assistance program will help keep the lights and heat on and the water running for 750 families in distressed regions throughout Appalachia.

Among these places is Jefferson City, Tennessee, where our longtime partner Appalachian Outreach, operates the Samaritan House, a shelter for homeless women and children.

So, you might ask, what does a homeless shelter have to do with utility assistance?

As Appalachian Outreach executive director Jean-Ann Washam explains, it can make the difference between a family having a home of their own or living at a shelter.

Among them earlier this year was Sally who called the Samaritan House from a park bench 20 miles away after being homeless for years and having nowhere else to turn.

When Sally arrived at Samaritan House with practically nothing but the clothing she had on, staff members immediately began assessing her basic needs.

Even though Sally was able to save up some money during her stay at Samaritan House, she still did not have enough to be able put down the required deposit for utilities.

“But because of Americans Helping Americans® paying the electric deposit, Sally had just what she needed to move into her very own efficiency apartment,” reported Jean-Ann.

And when told by staff that being able to move into her own home was helped to be made possible by the supporters of Americans Helping Americans®, she asked Jean-Ann to relay two words: “Thank you!