Our friends at Big Creek People in Action in War, West Virginia, one of the groups Americans Helping Americans has been supporting for nearly 20 years, has made a big impact on their community.

With our help, they have repaired what seems to be every other house on the streets of War. Together, we are also making sure as many students as possible are able to have school supplies.

But what truly impresses me is the community they are building, and how we have been a part of that in War and towns across Appalachia.

Like many other coal towns today, War has had a hard time trying to find a new identity as coal companies downsized their work force. But Big Creek People in Action is taking on the heroic task of ensuring there is a sense of community in their town.

They’ve used surplus supplies to build a community gathering outside their office, which is a renovated elementary school that has been closed down for years. They’ve planted a garden, built a gazebo, and even constructed a stage in the parking lot that has been used for bands to play during their Mountain Music Festival, free for everyone at the town! Eight bands played and the whole town showed up in support!

The memories that the children will keep are priceless and the joy the community can share is simply amazing. I believe the architects behind festivals like these are the unsung heroes of Appalachia, and I’m glad to say they are our partners.

I see providing basic needs, home repairs, education and more as our main goal at Americans Helping Americans. At the same time, we also want to create a sense of community throughout Appalachia that has been lost over the years. This is why we support grassroots organizations like Big Creek People in Action. Your support doesn’t only make you a hero for Appalachia – it creates a sense of community for our American neighbors.