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Appalachian Outreach Ministry receives $20,000 grant

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Samaritan House resident Wanda Bowles, left, assists Appalachian Outreach Director Jean-Ann Washam in the ministry’s food pantry.  Appalachian Outreach was recently chosen to receive a $20,000 grant that will be used to help grow its food pantry supply.

Samaritan House resident Wanda Bowles, left, assists Appalachian Outreach Director Jean-Ann Washam in the ministry’s food pantry. Appalachian Outreach was recently chosen to receive a $20,000 grant that will be used to help grow its food pantry supply.

Appalachian Outreach, a ministry of Carson-Newman University, was recently selected to receive a $20,000 grant thanks to the Walmart’s Fighting Against Hunger national campaign. AO was one of 60 agencies chosen nation-wide to receive the $20,000 grant.

“I was very excited because it was a national campaign,” smiled Jean-Ann Washam, director of AO. “I wasn’t sure we would have enough support to win at that level.”

The campaign was held throughout the month of April, allowing participants to vote online through Facebook for a particular hunger relief agency, which included over 300 organizations across America. Appalachian Outreach placed 35th on the list, resulting in the largest grant in its nearly 30-year history.

Washam, who is in her 19th year with the ministry, says she is very thankful to all who supported AO, but credits C-N students for their help. “The key was the Carson-Newman students,” said Washam. “Our student volunteers would visit the residence halls and cafeteria to garner support. I think it speaks to Carson-Newman’s investment in the ministry and is a good reminder that students are a critical part of it.”

Washam says the timing of the grant couldn’t have been better. “It will allow us to purchase more food for our pantry,” said Washam, who recently saw the completion of AO’s new Samaritan House homeless shelter earlier this year. “Because of the new facility, we are able to serve more people, but we have also seen a significant increase in cost the past few months. This new grant will be very helpful with that.”

Since it was established in 1984, AO 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, with AO now serving some 1,800 people monthly.

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