This month, with children in distressed areas of Appalachia returning to school, 3,500 elementary school-age students were able to walk proudly into their first day of class fully prepared with all the school supplies they required. In addition, children were outfitted with a pair of brand-new shoes through our Barefeet program in Kentucky. This was all made possible thanks to the supporters of Americans Helping Americans®.
Americans Helping Americans® Supports Appalachian Outreach Back-to-School Bash
“Everything is free” at Americans Helping Americans® partner Appalachian Outreach’s “Back-to-School Bash” in Jefferson City, Tennessee.
“This is a fun community event to help kick off the school year,” explained Appalachian Outreach Executive Director Jean-Ann Washam. “All school-age children in Jefferson and Grainger counties can attend and receive a new backpack full of school supplies.”
In addition to the school supplies, there were plenty of fun activities for the children including moon bounces, face painting, games, and plenty of treats such as popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones.
For the parents, who were relieved of the burden of trying to figure out how they were going to pay for their children’s school supplies, several local assistance agencies set up informational tables to inform them of what services might be available to them.
The children were so excited and happy to receive their new school supplies, including first-grader Emma, who upon receiving hers, exclaimed “I can’t wait to start school!”
Kate, a mother of four, commented, “With four kids it is very hard to afford all the school supplies they need. This event is a big help to my family.”
“Thank you for all you do to support Appalachian Outreach and this event,” said Jean-Ann. “Without Americans Helping Americans® many families in our area would struggle to provide needed school supplies for their children.”
Barefeet Program Provides New Shoes for Children in Kentucky
In addition to ensuring that thousands of Appalachian children have school supplies, thousands more are provided with sturdy shoes they need to last them all school year through in-kind donations and our Barefeet program.
A few weeks before school began in London, Kentucky, Americans Helping Americans® partner Come-Unity Cooperative Care and nearly two dozen children and their families “stormed the local Shoe Sensation store for a free shoe shopping event to help their families with back-to-school tennis shoes,” reported Executive Director Linda Lipps.
The entire event, which was made possible through the supporters of Americans Helping Americans®, took over an hour for all the children to pick out and be fitted for a brand-name pair such as Nike, Adidas, Under Armour and Converse.
“Some children tried out their new shoes by walking swiftly around the store, while others jumped high in the air,” said Linda, noting that all the children were “abundantly pleased” with their choices.
“I want to be a princess, so I want pink shoes that sparkle,” said one little girl.
For some, if not most, this was the very first time these children were able to go to a shoe store and pick out their very own brand new pair of shoes.
“Many of these children have never had the opportunity to shop in an actual shoe store, and certainly have never owned a new pair of name brand athletic shoes,” commented Linda.
“The children served through the program are identified as poverty-stricken,” said Linda. “Several of the children were accompanied by grandparents due to their parents being incarcerated or not present in their lives.
“Without the grant that provided this event, these children would be wearing hand-me-down shoes or used shoes purchased from a yard sale or thrift store.”