At Americans Helping Americans®, we are proud to collaborate closely with our partners in Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia to bring holiday cheer to hundreds of families and children in Appalachian communities facing economic distress.
In Jefferson City, Tennessee, grant funding generously provided by our supporters is enabling our partner, Appalachian Ministries of the Smokies (AMOS), to purchase 400 turkeys or hams to benefit an estimated 1,200 individuals this Christmas. AMOS is one of many charitable organizations working tirelessly in the region, including the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, local schools, businesses, civic groups, church organizations, and more. Each organization is pitching in its unique way to ensure that those in need can experience the joy of the season.
In McDowell County, West Virginia, our partner Big Creek People in Action (BCPIA) has been sponsoring a community Christmas party for many years supported by Americans Helping Americans®, and this year plans to serve nearly 600 people at the holiday event! In addition, BCPIA will distribute 360 turkeys or hams and boxes of food containing all the necessary trimmings to families in the community.
“With Christmas being a very special time of the year, we prepare food boxes and give out turkeys or hams so families can have a traditional holiday meal,” says co-executive director Dyanne Spriggs.
“During the holidays, people enjoy having special meals but don’t always use their food stamps to purchase big ticket items like ham or turkey. Providing people with a turkey will ensure they can enjoy a holiday meal for their family.”
“Our Christmas event is different because we do not buy generic gifts for each age group. The parents or the children get to pick out specifically what they want or need for Christmas.”
Cumberland Mountain Outreach (CMO), our partner in Beattyville, Kentucky, is hosting a spectacular drive-through light show and the largest Christmas party in Lee County with the help of our supporters. CMO President/CEO Cindy Evanoff expects approximately 200 households to attend the event, where children can participate in holiday activities and games, take photos with Santa, and have “endless food.”
Each child will receive at least two presents, and elderly individuals will receive a lovely gift. According to Cindy, “Many families in Appalachia do not have the resources to celebrate Christmas with their families and exchange presents. Attending this event will allow financially struggling guardians to partake in Christmas activities that they might otherwise have to forego due to basic living expenses.”
“Our party may be the only opportunity for many to eat a large meal and experience the joy of an enormous light show. Many attendees are mothers from our Head Start program or are referred to us by the school resource centers who cannot afford to give gifts to their children. We facilitate the opportunity for them to do so.
Without funding from Americans Helping Americans®, most local youth would go without gifts and the chance to experience a holiday meal accompanied by a nurturing atmosphere with family and friends.
Our commitment to the Appalachian region runs deep, and we are grateful to our partners and supporters for helping us bring the holiday spirit to those in need.