At Americans Helping Americans®, March is the time when we look forward to the spring programs – particularly our Home Rehabilitation Program which kicked off this month! College students have been spending their spring breaks helping elderly and disabled homeowners in need with repairs to their leaking roofs, rotting floors, building handicap ramps, and more. But it is also a time when we look back as we receive reports from our partners about how our supporters helped bring joy to families during the holidays.
Home Rehabilitation Program Begins in West Virginia
On Saturday, March 9, dozens of students from the University of Richmond, Notre Dame University and Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, descended on McDowell County, West Virginia for their spring breaks.
These college students volunteered for Americans Helping Americans® partner there, Big Creek People in Action, working hard to help the nation’s least fortunate – the elderly and disabled living in one of the poorest counties in the country.
The first group to arrive were 24 students from the University of Richmond who spent their week laying laminate flooring for Cynthia, a housewife with severe diabetes and other health issues and raising three children.
When the group of Notre Dame students arrived the next day, they were kept busy installing insulation and sheetrock in an old cabin.
The Rider students who arrived on March 16 took on the task of removing and replacing an old, rotting kitchen floor of an elderly cancer survivor in the small community of Caretta who is once again battling the disease.
While BCPIA co-executive director Marsha Timpson plans the home rehab program, sorting through the applications and vetting homeowners, and the volunteers provide the free labor, it is up to us to make sure they have the materials necessary to get the job done.
Christmas Dinner Still a Fresh Memory For Georgia Family Down on its Luck
For most Americans, the Christmas holiday season is “ancient history” with spring here and summer right around the corner.
But for 800 children and their downtrodden parents and grandparents, it was likely a Christmas they will never forget thanks to the supporters of Americans Helping Americans® and our partner Caring Hands Ministries in Cleveland, Georgia.
For one family following the untimely death of Grandpa “it seemed their very survival was in question.” Now with their loved one gone, “that spark was missing.”
But Grandma is not one to dwell on her sorrows. Along with her whole family, she volunteered to help with the Caring Hands Community Christmas Dinner, which is a 15-year-tradition. The family stayed up the night before to prepare for hundreds who would be arriving for their Christmas meal. They even stayed to help clean up afterwards.
“You made this possible,” Ann wanted our supporters to know. “You made it possible for more than 800 people to have a holiday meal and food for the next several days.
“You made it possible for people who felt alone to be part of something and for people who normally hide in the woods, afraid of being found homeless, to come out and be blessed – and be a blessing."
For Single Mother in Kentucky, Winter Coats and More Bring Holiday Joy
Christy became a single mother of two young boys the day after her husband quit his job and left the family. Six months later she has not heard from him and has no idea where he is.
Since then, she and her children were evicted from their apartment and moved in temporarily into her mother’s small apartment.
Christy says she is not angry or sad about her situation “because it took all of my time and energy to survive. I am getting some food stamps now, but still not getting child support.”
Christy’s mom, who also struggles to get by, receives help through the senior food box program operated by Come-Unity Cooperative Care in Laurel County, Kentucky.
In addition to all their other basic needs, her two boys didn’t even have winter coats, reported CCC executive director Linda Lipps.
“Fortunately, because of the in-kind support from Americans Helping Americans®, we were able to provide new coats for the boys,” said Linda. In addition, she noted that the family also participated in the Children’s Christmas program receiving new clothes, toys and a Christmas dinner food box including a turkey that was provided through a grant from Americans Helping Americans®.
“My boys [had] a good Christmas because of the coats, gifts and a great turkey dinner,” Christy said to Linda after receiving all the items.