Mission of Hope – 20 Years of Extending the Hope
MOH PROVIDES YEAR-ROUND HELP TO NEEDY FAMILIES IN APPALACHIA
By John Lynch
As MOH and its many volunteers mark two decades of service, they also lament that conditions in Appalachia continue to worsen.
The coal mining industry, which long sustained the area, has hemorrhaged jobs in recent years, adding to the challenges these folks face.
That’s what makes MOH a year-round ministry that serves the area in a variety of ways.
MOH’s mission, says Executive Director Emmette Thompson, is like a tree with seven branches.
1) Day-to-Day Resource Distribution: Working with mountain ministries year-round throughout Appalachia, MOH provides clothing, furniture, appliances, food and hygiene products.
2) Back to School: In an annual ritual welcomed by 28 rural elementary schools, MOH’s back to school program provides 12,000 schoolchildren with much needed supplies.
Volunteers from area churches greet the students in the school gym, give each one a backpack and then help each child fill it with pencils, pens, paper, glue sticks, scissors, crayons and basic hygiene products.
3) Christmas Crusade: Working with those same 28 schools, MOH provides Christmas presents for 18,000 children. Again, a group of volunteers lays out Christmas toys in the school gym and then the volunteers accompany the children as they pick out their favorites.
4) Healthcare: MOH partners with rural healthcare clinics, helping coordinate volunteers and underwriting program needs.
5) Construction: Responding to the needs of mom and pop ministries, MOH dispatches volunteers to make home repairs and build much-needed wheelchair ramps for rural residents so they are not trapped in their homes.
As Thompson likes to say, “We fix the widow’s porch.”
6) College Scholarships: Since 2009, the Hope Scholars Program provides $2,500 scholarships and laptops every year to a dozen high school seniors who go on to college.
This is a key element of MOH’s commitment to break the cycle of power through education.
7) Evangelism: MOH culls its volunteers from churches in Kentucky and Tennessee, including Northeast Christian Church in Lexington, Versailles Baptist Church and Central Baptist Church in Paris.
Said Thompson: “Without hesitation, we give God all praise, credit and glory.
“The ministry has grown far beyond our dreams, and we’ve been blessed to partner with Godly men and women who run our ministry centers.
“People in Appalachia need assistance and that’s where we come in.”
And that’s how the Mission of Hope has been extending the Hope for 20 years.