Hancock County is one of six distressed counties in Tennessee and the home to the small, rural town of Sneedville, pop. 1,336, where our longtime partner, Of One Accord, operates a food pantry.
“Hancock County (Sneedville) is the lowest-income county in the state,” reported OOA executive director Sheldon Livesay.
One-third of the county’s residents are unemployed, one third of residents must drive long distances on winding country roads to adjoining counties for work as there are only enough jobs in the county for one third of its residents.
Sneedville has no Walmart or full service grocery stores, — there is only one small grocery store in the entire county — so many of people living there rely on the Shepherd’s Corner Food Pantry operated by OOA for emergency and supplemental food to get by month to month.
The Shepherd’s Corner serves elderly and disabled residents living on meager fixed incomes, families with children needing to make their monthly food budgets stretch, families, and individuals experiencing hardships.
Sheldon had been using an old cargo van to collect food donations from large businesses such as Walmart and Food Lion larger towns such as Rogersville (where OOA is headquartered) and Church Hill about an hour’s drive, one-way.
But when the used van purchased about 10 years ago gave up the ghost and had to be sold for parts.
In the meantime, one of OOA’s staff members has been using his own personal pickup truck and hauling a trailer to get the food for the isolated community.
Sheldon recently informed us that he has raised $15,000 towards the purchase of a newer used van he estimates will cost about $20,000 and asked Americans Helping Americans if we could provide the remaining $5,000 he needs.
Thanks to a generous supporter of Americans Helping Americans who has offered to match dollar for dollar up to $2,500 to help us help Sheldon get the cargo van within the next two weeks.