The mission of the Appalachian outreach initiative is to support low income and below poverty level families in Southwest Virginia meet basic human needs. Our efforts in the area of nutrition focus on families who struggle to feed their primary school age children. We work in collaboration with and in support of food banks and the Backpack Programs in Tazewell and Buchanan counties in VA. This past year collecting new cold weather clothing for the younger children was added to our outreach.
Health care, especially dental, is an ongoing need in the Appalachian region of our country (note: if Appalachia were a state it would be the third largest state in the union after Alaska and Texas). Poor dental care has been called the number one public health problem throughout Appalachia. There is a direct relationship between loss of teeth and a person's general level of health. Dentures funded by our grants are provided through the Remote Area Medical clinic (R.A.M) held annually in October in Grundy, Virginia, located in Buchanan County, one of the poorest counties in the Commonwealth. Our grants for dentures help with the ongoing Southwest Virginia dental issue in a small but meaningful way.
The Appalachian initiative also works in support of public schools. School supplies are provided for elementary school children in Tazewell County. One time initiatives, such as providing computers for elementary schools in said counties and building materials and books for a school library are done on an as needed basis. Appalachia Project leadership personnel travel at their own expense to Southwest Virginia in part to assure that donated funding and materials are utilized for their intended purpose. Perhaps the greatest benefit of these visits has been the relationships that have evolved over time with the people of the Appalachian region of Virginia.
Funding is provided through donations made by the membership of St. Michael Catholic Church in glen Allen Virginia.