Mission Of Hope In The Struggle With Poverty

Mission of Hope is a non-profit organization that ministers to poverty-stricken people who live in rural counties in eastern America. They have a profound impact on the people they serve. Poverty is a problem all over the country, but statistics show that the are of rural Appalachia has been hit harder than the majority of the country. There are many places that Mission of Hope could make a difference but they choose to work in their own backyard, because a big part of the problem is so close to home. Mission of Hope provides to the needs of people spiritually and physically in rural Appalachia, to who other organizations do not reach out too.

Mission of Hope was founded by Julie Holland. Julie knew that God was calling her to serve and when she felt God nudging her to serve the poor people in Appalachia she faithfully stepped out to pursue her calling. When she first saw the condition of the people living in Appalachia she wondered if anything could be done about it because it looked so bad from her prospective. Julie did not give up because she knew that serving there was her calling so she trusted God and he provided her with help as other people joined in pursuit of helping others. This group of people joined together in forming one of the most popular generous organization in the southeast, Mission of Hope. Mission of Hope has experienced tremendous growth since the organization was founded, in 1996 Mission of Hope provided for 150 children were assisted, in 2011 over 17,000 children and families were provided with food, hygiene, school supplies, toys, and clothing. In 1996, after 150 children had been provided with basic needs by the recently founded Mission of Hope organization, a story was published in the Shopper-News Newspaper. This article talked about what Julie Holland was doing for kids in Appalachia which inspired a few more people to join in and help, ultimately led to the growth and popularity of Mission of Hope. Many people have followed in Julie Hollands footsteps, and taken initiative to help provide for the needy people in Rural Appalachia. A notable person who has helped Mission of Hope continue to grow is Emmett Thompson who is the director of Mission of Hope and is constantly planning mission trips to many schools in Appalachia in order to provide for the children and families there. He has constantly at the Mission of Hope warehouse preparing for mission trips and he can be found at almost every mission of hope event that takes place, and he devotes so much of his time to the organization that he loves and supports so much. Many people work behind the scenes at Mission of Hope that go unnoticed many of times. Many people work in the offices who help coordinate many of the mission trips, brining in volunteers, and set up all of Mission of Hope’s charitable events that take place throughout the year. Almost nothing that happens at Mission of Hope would be possible if it were not for these people who work behind the scenes to make serving in Appalachia possible.

Poverty has and continues to be a never-ending problem in America. The state of poverty In America is decreasing, but not nearly to the point of where it is not a problem anymore. While throughout the countries history there have been times where poverty has been at an all-time high but has gone back to “decent levels” the area of Rural Appalachia has been steadily growing into a higher level of poverty. It has gotten to such a point that the country considers this area as a problem that plays a role in keeping the country from further progressing. Almost nothing other than organizations trying to get as much of the population as possible back on their feet, has been done to support the people and this area of the country. The overwhelming poverty in this area greatly effects the lives of the 25 million people living there in various different ways.

Rural Appalachia is a poverty stricken area in the northern Tennessee and Kentucky areas which desperately needs to be reached to and told about the Word of God. Appalachia is an area that is rich in natural resources and could be a very rich area, but it's people have not shared nearly as much prosperity as the rest of the country. The unemployment rate in Appalachia in 2014 was 6. 5% while the rest of the nation is 6. 2%, which has lead to 25% of all people living in Appalachia living below the poverty line. Unemployment is not the only cause of this though, the population of Appalachia who are employed make significantly less money then the average american. In 2014, research revealed that the average income per household was around $30,338 while the American average was $46,049. This is a significant difference in income which is a massive cause of poverty in this area. While these people may also need to hear the good news, they need physical help as well.

Schools in Appalachia are struggling as well with having to deal with poverty and having a hard time finding teachers who are will to teach in these rural areas. Many students in this area never are properly educated because with teachers constantly quitting because of the location of these schools, many substitute teachers are brought in to teach who have little to no teaching experience. Between 2013 and 2017 the number of openings for jobs at schools doubled as a result as many teachers quitting over the years. This quality of education is only going to hurt them more in the future, many students realize that they have not learned as much as they should in order to succeed in college. In a recent study of “a college readiness standard” conducted on students in the Appalachian area based on standardized test scores, only 8% of students were considered to meet this standard. Many times when no substitute teachers are available the students are combined into another classroom which can lead to more than 60 students in one classroom for a certain period of time. Another factor that has led to these students to struggle in school is the fact that 46% of students in this area only live with one biological parent. The fact of the matter is that if they are struggling with issues at home they are not going to be in the right mindset to go to school and learn.

The region of rural Appalachia has a very high unemployment rate and people that live there who are able to find to find jobs make very low income which keeps many families living a life in harsh conditions below the poverty line. In America, generally, job opportunities are continually decreasing as time goes on, the decline of employment opportunities has hit Appalachia even harder than the rest of the country. A study was performed in Lewis Country, Kentucky, about unemployment and the results were shocking; nearly 12% of eligible workers in the country were unemployed, leading to 30% of the population of the country living below the poverty line. This startling statistic of poverty is not the case for just this country in kentucky, this amount if poverty is a large problem in the whole region of Appalachia.

People living in Appalachia are experiencing physical problems like poverty, and sometimes they are also both mentally and spiritually broken. Mission of Hope provides these people with more than just physical items, they provide people with what they need most which is hope. These people need to know that not everyone has just turned their back on this part of the country and just consider them as a “Dilemma. ” Mission of Hope brings attention to these people so that they are not ignored and try to provide them with physical and spiritual support to help them get back on their feet again and hopefully they come out of this hard time with hope to help others and maybe a relationship with God because they had just experienced the love he has for them.

There are many ways to get involved at Mission of Hope that can massive support many people living in poverty in the Appalachian area. Every year Mission of Hope conducts countless charitable events such as a back to school drive, in order to collect donations of school supplies for many kids who cannot afford them. Another event is the Christmas drive in which many toys and a lot of food is collected to deliver to the kids and parents so they will not go hungry and that the kids may get gifts for Christmas. There are other ways to get involved as well such as going to the Mission of Hope warehouse and helping sort and package items for the deliveries to schools the organization visits multiple times a year. Working in the warehouse can range from packing hundreds of hygiene bags with soap, shampoo and toothbrushes, or to sorting backpacks to send out to different schools around the month of July. Going on one of Mission of Hope’s trips to deliver school supplies, toys and hygiene items to a school in this are is a great experience. Anything that is done to get involved at Mission of Hope makes a huge difference for the poverty-stricken and needy children and adults living in Appalachia.

Poverty remains a problem for many people living in rural Appalachia and is the cause of other problems that a lot of the people living there have to deal with on a regular basis. The significant poverty comes from the fact that the region itself does not attract good teachers which leads to a bad education, and the fact the the unemployment rate is so high and the wages made for people who have a job is so low. Little effort is being made to help support this region of the country like what is needed. Mission of Hope provides the help and support to this region that is not well supported by many other organizations. Mission of Hope is a prime example of how serving God does not require going to other countries because people who live so close by need just as much help as those loving in other countries. God has a plan for rural Appalachia which anyone could make a difference just by getting involved at Mission of Hope.

15 April 2020
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