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Local organization helping Appalachia rebound from pandemic

Posted at 5:51 PM, Sep 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-22 17:53:09-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — September is hunger awareness month. Over the past several weeks, LEX 18 has featured organizations that have continued to feed the community throughout COVID-19 and ways for others to help. The Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) is another one of those organizations.

From a thrift shop to food pantry, The Christian Appalachian Project serves Appalachia from top to bottom.

"We're actually the largest human services organization that serves Appalachia exclusively, " said Tina Bryson of the Christian Appalachian Project.

As with everyone, their services have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but even more so, have the people they serve.

"Really, people who are already facing a number of challenges because of poverty have been seeing that exacerbated because of coronavirus," Bryson said.

It has been CAP's mission throughout COVID-19 to provide relief in any way they can, especially in helping put food on the table. In a good year, Appalachia is already a very vulnerable region, but add the compounded effects of a pandemic and economic downturn, and their challenges only increase.

"One in four kids in our community that CAP serves... they don't know if they're going to have food on the table when they come home from school, and now that school is out, they really are not sure how they might do that, " Bryson explained.

One of CAP's biggest ways to stay visible in Appalachia is their annual hunger walk in Rockcastle County. Just as they have done in year's past, they partnered with Rockcastle County Schools to help support and raise awareness of their food pantry, but this year, instead of the 1300 walkers they normally have, they had just 13. Each person walked symbolically for 100 people, with others joining in virtually. All of this was done to remind people to support their food banks and make donations, especially through these uncertain times.

"It just continues to remind people to don't forget about your neighbors, " Bryson said. "They still are struggling with the same issues, and those issues have just been increased by COVID-19."

To learn how you can continue to participate in their Hunger Walk for the remainder of the month of September or to donate or get involved, visit https://www.christianapp.org/.