As we reflect on 2023, American Helping Americans (AHA) is immensely grateful for the positive impacts made in lifting up the underprivileged in the Appalachian region. Rural communities more so than urban experience the effects of poverty like food insecurity on a greater scale. This makes the work we do, serving our neighbors where they need it most, both necessary and rewarding. The collective efforts of our generous donors, dedicated volunteers, and partner organizations have created stories of empowerment and progress. Here are some of those stories:
Empowerment Through Education
In 2023, our education program supported 8,792 students. Recognizing the scarcity of educational resources in rural America, AHA launched a comprehensive initiative. This included afterschool and vocational training programs, free summer camps, and the distribution of essential school supplies and laptops.
These efforts not only provided educational tools but also served as a beacon of hope, equipping students with the skills and knowledge to build a brighter future despite the challenges.
Home Rehabilitation: Rebuilding Homes & Rebuilding Lives
AHA’s home rehabilitation program, a cornerstone of our mission, achieved significant milestones by completing 65 projects in 2023. Beyond the physical aspects of construction, these projects involved repairing leaking roofs, addressing rotting floors, and constructing handicap ramps for the elderly and disabled. Our efforts impacted 114 individuals and provided dignity and security for those living in vulnerable conditions.
Nourishing Communities With Food Insecurity
In the relentless fight against hunger, AHA’s food security programs made a profound impact, benefiting 46,553 individuals. In America, about one in eight households experience food insecurity, and one in 20 experience very low food security. The highest rate of food insecurity is in the South, where many Appalachian communities are located.
Americans Helping Americans became a source of sustenance and hope through community gardens, horticulture education, and food bank support. They also provided deliveries, holiday meals, and food box distributions to those facing food insecurity in areas where it was needed most. The ripple effect of these efforts resonates across the region, fostering resilience and stability amid challenging circumstances.
Serving Our Neighbors With Utility Assistance, Basic Needs, and Medical Support
In 2023, AHA’s utility assistance, basic needs, and medical treatment programs provided a lifeline for 10,344 individuals. In the Appalachian region, obstacles like transportation, finances, and health literacy create very real health disparities. This region experiences a higher rate of mortality than other parts of America.
The threat of utilities being shut off can also increase medical risks, especially during extreme weather events or for patients with specific medical needs like oxygen support.
From rent and utility assistance to winter coats, dental kits, blankets, and free medical treatment in rural Georgia, AHA addressed these immediate needs, helping to restore well-being and relieve the burdens of some of the most vulnerable.
Want2Work Initiative: Breaking Barriers to Careers
The Want2Work initiative, launched in 2023, holds the promise of transforming vocational and technical education in Appalachia. The percentage of adults over the age of 25 who hold a Bachelor’s degree in the region is about 6.5 percentage points below the national average. By providing grants to partner organizations, students can overcome financial barriers and pursue life-changing careers.
Americans Helping Americans ensured that no obstacle, be it financial constraints or lack of resources, would stand in the way of these students’ dreams. Lab coats, professional equipment, certification tests – every aspect was meticulously addressed to break down barriers to career advancement.
Looking Ahead to 2024: A Call for Hope
AHA’s commitment to serving our neighbors and fostering positive change remains unwavering. Those living in poverty continue to face challenges, and they need our ongoing support. About half of the states that are part of the Appalachian region report some of the highest poverty rates in America.
AHA envisions a year filled with even more progress, touching more lives, rebuilding more homes, and helping more individuals and communities flourish.
Americans Helping Americans invites you to be a part of this rewarding mission. Remember that your contributions to AHA enable us to extend our reach and amplify our impact. They help us create a brighter future for those in need.
Together, let’s make 2024 a year of hope and positive change. Please, donate today and be a catalyst for transforming the lives of the underprivileged in the Appalachian region. Together, we can make a lasting difference.