How the Fahe Network is Responding to COVID-19, Part 2

Many Members of the Fahe Network were founded in times of crisis, such as during the beginning of the War on Poverty, so they understand not only how to serve their communities in the best of times, but also during times of great need as we’re currently facing with the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Fahe Members are serving as first responders to housing, food, and financial needs of our communities despite the underinvestment in the region.  Today we take a brief look at how two Fahe Members are pivoting to ensure their communities stay safe and healthy.

Appalachia Service Project (ASP)

Volunteers at ASP find themselves building wood and plexiglass barriers for local social service agencies as a preventative measure against the spread of COVID-19 between employees and service recipients.

Normally, ASP volunteers (serving KY, TN, WV, and VA) would be spending all of their time providing home rehab and construction for Appalachian families.  However, ASP recognizes the need to protect essential workers and community members from the virus is just as vital as ensuring they have quality homes.  Pivoting to utilize their skills at carpentry, distribution, and organization they are providing new assets to their communities during this crisis.  In addition, they have donated their entire stock of cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment including safety glasses, coverall suites, and over 3,000 N95 masks.

Helping Overcome Poverty’s Existence (HOPE, Inc.)

In Wytheville, VA, Fahe Member HOPE is working full time to ensure their community remains fed. They serve a community like the ones recently profiled by the Brookings Institution, which noted that 1 in 5 Americans are hungry. HOPE operates Open Door Café, a volunteer-ran, pay-what-you-can restaurant which provides a way for the community to provide meals to their food insecure neighbors.  They also operate HOPE Packs, a community backpack program that ensures food insecure students have food to eat on the weekends and holidays.  Since the beginning of March, HOPE has served over 2,300 meals at Open Door Café and sent home over 5,000 HOPE Packs with students at 18 schools in Wythe and Bland Counties. They continue serving meals and making Packs despite the rapidly rising costs of food and bare grocery shelves due to the Pandemic.  This impacts HOPE’s budget, but they continue because the need and their mission hasn’t changed. 

Across the Appalachia, Fahe Members serve as local leaders and backbones for their communities.  Each have their own ways of tackling the new needs arising from the pandemic. Thanks to their personal ties to their service areas, our deep reaching platform is able to make well-informed and strategic deployment of investments to ensure maximum efficiency and impact. 

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