Appalachian Outreach

Carson-Newman student Mya Hall of Calhoun, Georgia, helps with sorting in Appalachian Outreach’s food pantry. AO was the recent recipient of a grant awarded by the East Tennessee Foundation via the Jefferson Health Care Foundation Fund.

Carson-Newman University’s Appalachian Outreach Ministry was the recent recipient of a grant from the East Tennessee Foundation.

The grant comes from the Jefferson Health Care Foundation Fund.

The funding will help in three specific areas of need, according to Appalachian Outreach Director Jean-Ann Washam.

“Part of this grant will go toward building wheelchair ramps for families who are unable to get in and out of their home safely – specifically the elderly and disabled,” Washam said,

Washam said it provides a safer environment and allows residents to live in their homes longer.

Another portion will benefit Appalachian Outreach’s Samaritan House, which provides temporary housing for families in need. The grant will help Samaritan House provide medical assistance.

“It will serve those without insurance,” she said. “In addition to being homeless, a lot of times health is compromised because living situations are not stable. A lot of times there is not money to go to the dentist or go to a physician.”

Washam said that the money will help pay for medical visits and prescriptions for residents only and does not include narcotics.

The funding’s final component will support family stabilization.

“This will help families get into a stable home and train them with simple life skills like budgeting, parenting, anger management,” Washam said.

She said classes are taught by volunteers, some of which include Carson-Newman students.

“With nutrition classes, students work with the families and come alongside them to prepare a meal and teach them how to stretch the benefits they have,” said Washam.

“An example would be with food stamps,” she explained. “Families are taught that it would be better to buy a bag of potatoes and prepare them versus buying a container that is already prepared and would not feed as many people or last as long.”

Washam credits community involvement for helping Appalachian Outreach reach those in need.

“We have some people willing to volunteer and be hands-on, those who contribute financially, and our prayer partners and mentors who work with the families,” she said.

Since it was established in 1984, Appalachian Outreach has served those in need throughout the region through its home repair ministry. What began as a dream of Carson-Newman students Kerry and Karen Smith and past Campus Ministries Director Jim Wilson has continued to grow under the leadership of Washam.