January News from Americans Helping Americans® Two Christmas Parties and Thousands of Coats for Appalachia

Although the holidays are over, stories of hope and neighbors taking care of one another are still alive and well in the Appalachian communities we serve. Last month, communities came together in the spirit of Christmas, and families were kept warm, all thanks to the support we received from readers like you.

Winter Coats Make Their Way to a Family in Georgia

Last year, thanks to our supporters, Americans Helping Americans® was able to distribute over 5,200 coats to our partners throughout Appalachia. These organizations provided them to those struggling the most in their communities, ensuring parents, the elderly, and children stayed warm when winter began.

For a single mom, her elderly mother and 4 children living in Habersham County, Georgia, winter coats were a necessity but just outside of their reach. The mom was working a minimum wage job, and with the grandmother on a fixed income from social security, it was difficult to make ends meet. Luckily for them, our partner, Caring Hands Ministries in Cleveland, Georgia, was holding a Coat Give-Away at the time.

According to executive director of Caring Hands Ministries, Lafaye Murphy, "We were able to provide nice new warm coats to this sweet family to help them stay warm this winter. The whole family was so happy, especially grandma!"

Nanny Receives a Holiday Meal that She Can Make

In addition to providing coats to families, Caring Hands Ministries also held their Community Christmas Dinner last month, which, thanks to our supporters, was open to everyone in the community. The party included a traditional holiday meal with all the trimmings, new toys for children and new teen gifts, music, home decor, furniture, and a lot more.

One of the aspects we love about Appalachia is that in the communities we serve, people, who very often have little themselves, volunteer for opportunities to help their neighbors. During the holidays, volunteer drivers delivered holiday meals and extras to public safety officials who had to work, to corrections officers at the jail, and to farmers. Other drivers gave rides to people who wanted to attend but had no way of getting to the dinner.

These incredible people also made sure an elderly lady, "Nanny" received a holiday dinner that she could prepare.

Executive director Lafaye Murphy said;

This sweet little lady is home-bound in a wheelchair and is unable to prepare food the traditional way. She can only use a microwave since she can’t stand up. We were able to provide her with things that she could microwave and fix a holiday feast just in case her kids might stop by (which they did). She was so happy that she had food to offer them.

A Community Comes Together for the Holidays

Last month, our partner, Cumberland Mountain Outreach in Beattyville, Kentucky held their annual Christmas party as well. There, the community was provided with gifts for children, crafts, desserts, dinner, games, and more.

In Beattyville and throughout hard-hit areas in Appalachia, many families simply lack the resources to provide their families with things such as presents or a Christmas dinner. Hosting the party gave those struggling a chance to gather with their family and friends and provide their children with gifts that they might otherwise have gone without.

According to Cumberland Mountain Outreach Executive Director Cindy Evanoff, "The Christmas party has a significant impact on the families of our community. [It allowed] children in struggling homes a day to just be a kid."

Stories like these remind us of how we want to help create a sense of community throughout Appalachia. In many cases, these organizations not only act as a beacon of hope for families, but as a hub for events as well. It's why we support grassroots organizations like Cumberland Mountain Outreach, and why the support we receive means so much to us.