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|"...In as much as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:40)
Appalachian Outreach, a ministry of Carson Newman College, is located near the campus in Jefferson City. Since 1984, A.O. has been serving the needy in Hamblen, Jefferson, Cocke and Grainger counties. Only 13 miles from the front door of our church, A.O. provides a golden opportunity for volunteers to impact the lives of our neighbors for our Lord in ways that will last throughout eternity.
Here are some of those opportunities---
Home Repair Ministry: In 1984, Appalachian Outreach was born. The idea was conceived to help low income families struggling to maintain their home. Through the eyes of Christ, compassion for those in need motivated a few students from Carson Newman College to begin to go out and make weekend repairs to homes here in East Tennessee. AO now hosts many churches and organizations (1,300 volunteers) per year to help with the construction projects your round. Renovations include projects as small as painting to completing room additions. The work projects completed in 2012 provided assistance to 23 families. Churches, local organizations, and individuals provide financial support and physical labor to show God's love in action. New definitions to poverty are written each time we find a person living in sub-human conditions: no electricity, no water, no bathroom, etc. It may be a surprise for many to know that we have neighbors without these simple necessities.
Samaritan House Family Ministries: In 1987 Samaritan House opened as a shelter for the homeless. Since its inception, hundreds of families have had a safe space to live and an opportunity to hear about and experience the love of Christ. A warm Christian environment provides support for families struggling to meet daily needs. Christian couseling is provided to help people find a new home, job, and a new hope that Christ is alive. Weekly Bible studies provide an avenue for individuals to hear the Gospel. Families can stay up to 45 days in the shelter while rebuilding their lives. All residents are responsible to maintain the home while learning new skills to help live on their own upon completion of the program. In 2012, 45 families (50 adults and 47 children) found shelter at Samaritan House. (3,032 days of care). I'm excited to report that the New Samaritan House Family Ministries will be open to receive our first residents March 1, 2013.
Clothing and Furniture Ministries: These ministries were relocated to the Appalachian Outreach Ministry Center in December 2000. Each month families who are attempting to live on a small income or no income come to find good used clothing and furniture to help provide for their humble needs. In 2012 an incredible 4,353 individuals receive clothing from the Ministry Center. As the donations increase so does the need. More and more families through awareness find real help in having a place to come for clothing and furniture.
Food Pantry: The food pantry has become an increasing need in the Jefferson County area. Our food pantry serves famillies throughout Jefferson County on a regular basis and on an emergency basis. In 2012, the food pantry provided over 7,000 baskets of food to 1,451 families in the community. Some families living on very small incomes have come to depend on their food basket each month as a necessity. Samaritan House also provides food to hundreds of persons each year who are living in the shelter or who are traveling through the community but cannot afford a meal. In 2012, Samaritan House provided 9,096 hot meals to residents and other individuals in the community.
Children's Ministry: There are several programs available for children, including tutoring, Tuesday Night Bible Study and the Kid's Club are where children have the chance to learn about and grow in Christ.
Volunteer Support: Appalachian Outreach is successful because of the help that we have received from volunteers and prayer partners. Since our inception, volunteers have contributed more than 22,000 hours annually.
The door is open for service to our Lord. Are you willing to walk through?
Contact Ben or Nancy Husk for the "how to."
More information about Appalachian Outreach can be found on their website- web.cn.edu/ao