Right now in the hills and hollers of Appalachia, families and senior citizens are hunkering down and doing their best to keep warm in their homes while being faced with the sad choice of paying their utility bill or putting food on the table.
But thanks to our partners in Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee, hundreds of individuals are being provided with utility assistance so they do not have to make that dreadful choice, or worry about their electricity being disconnected.
In Beattyville, Kentucky, our partner there Cumberland Mountain Outreach (CMO) distributes the grant funding it receives to the most needy in the distressed community.
Among the recent recipients is Naomi who told us, “I received a disconnect notice in the mail from my electric company, and wasn’t sure how I was going to keep my electricity on.
“I am on a fixed income and with the temperatures dropping I was worried how I was going to heat my home to stay warm.”
She told us that she had visited other community assistance places, but they were already out of funding.
“Thankfully, I was able to get assistance at Cumberland Mountain Outreach. The help you guys give is so appreciated and there are so many people in this community who are grateful for your help.
“I also want to say how grateful I am to Cumberland Mountain Outreach and Americans Helping Americans for all the help I have received over the years. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”
CMO President/CEO Cindy Evanoff explained why its utility assistance program is so needed in the community, telling us, “So many families here in Appalachia find it very difficult to make ends meet with the price of food, utilities and just their basic needs.
“This grant funding is to give families a helping hand,” which she noted has served more than 360 individuals this year.
In Gainesville, Georgia, LAMP Ministries programs director Wendy Franklin shared comments from one of their utility assistance beneficiaries who wrote: “Dear LAMP Ministries, I want to thank you for the love and care you have shown me and my children over the years.
“Your utility assistance with my light bill gave me an opportunity to catch up on another bill that needed my immediate attention, and go gather things my children needed for school.
“I am very grateful,” the woman added. “It couldn’t have helped me in a better time in my time of need.”
And in Jefferson City, Tennessee, our partner there, Appalachian Ministries of the Smokies (AMOS), assists homeless women and children through its Samaritan House shelter find a home, a job and more, with support from Americans Helping Americans.
Among them was Tina who arrived at the shelter with her 13-year-old son after staying at her mother’s house for several months.
Unlike many who arrive at the Samaritan House, Tina had a good-paying job working from home as a customer assistant but was unable to secure a home for herself and her son.
“Her income and her ability to save were better than most of the residents of the shelter,” reported AMOS executive director Jean-Ann Washam. “But her poor credit and negative rental history were obstacles for her finding a new place.”
However, thanks to the supporters of Americans Helping Americans, when Tina finally found an apartment that would accept her, “Americans Helping Americans funds were used to cover the cost of her utility deposit.”
And when Tina and her son moved from Samaritan House to their own home, “we all knew she had a long way to go, but progress had been made.”
Jean-Ann went on to explain that many of those who they help at the shelter “are really struggling” and have many other expenses they need to pay during their stay at Samaritan House.
“As a result, these families are not able to save up enough money to put down a full deposit on an apartment or rental home.
“Americans Helping Americans funding gives these individuals the ability to become self-sufficient by helping them afford this expense.”