Working love in the heart of Appalachia
In rural Boone County, West Virginia, Jennifer Massey (pictured left) and her neighbors began to experience unusual illnesses. They discovered significant contamination in the community’s primary water source—contamination that has been linked to nearby mining activity. As many of Jennifer’s neighbors began to suffer adverse health effects, she lost her 29-year-old brother to an illness believed to be caused by the contamination.
Community Lutheran Partners, Inc. (CLP)—a social ministry organization supported by your gifts to ELCA World Hunger—stepped in to lend a hand. Sarah Soltow, executive director of CLP, worked with Jennifer to organize “Water Weekend.” CLP provided 2,000 gallons of safe drinking water for Jennifer’s community. Jennifer coordinated local efforts to assemble two public panel presentations. One panel was made up of local educators who discussed the importance of safe water, and another panel hosted community members who spoke about personal experiences with water contamination.
After the presentations, groups of CLP volunteers—including many young adults—and community members went door-to-door delivering water and educational pamphlets about the importance of safe water. Jennifer and her husband led one of four groups that together visited nearly 200 homes that day.
“Although the 2,000 gallons of water was a wonderful form of relief,” Jennifer said, “in my opinion the greatest thing that came of…’Water Weekend’ was knowledge.”
Your gifts to ELCA World Hunger help support Community Lutheran Partners, Inc. and many other ministries like it through the ELCA Domestic Hunger Grants Program. The mission of CLP is “to enable and support congregations of the West Virginia–Western Maryland Synod and others in service to their neighbors.”
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