How to Help the 'Children of the Mountains'

Learn more, get involved and help children living in poverty in Appalachia.

Feb. 12, 2009 — -- In the hills of central Appalachia, up winding, mountain roads, is a place where children and families face unthinkable conditions, living without what most Americans take for granted. Isolated pockets in central Appalachia have three times the national poverty rate, an epidemic of prescription drug abuse, the shortest life spans in the nation, toothlessness, cancer and chronic depression.

The organizations below are working to help children and families in Appalachia.

These organizations' Web sites are experiencing unusually high traffic due to the ABC News special. If you are unable to connect, we hope you'll check back again or contact them via the phone numbers below.

Christian Appalachian Project: Based in Kentucky and founded in 1964, the Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) is an interdenominational, nonprofit organization "committed to serving people in need in Appalachia by providing physical, spiritual and emotional support through a wide variety of programs and services."


Organizations Featured in "A Hidden America:"

Kids First Dental: Dr. Edwin Smith's dental van currently provides school-based dental services to children in 16 eastern Kentucky counties.

Phone: 606-546-7410

The UNITE Foundation: Founded in 2003, Operation UNITE (Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education) is alaw enforcement and education initiative that works to combat substance abuse in Eastern Kentucky, including in Appalachia. The UNITE Foundation accepts individual and corporate donations to sustain its various programs and services, including assistance to children and families dealing with substance abuse.


The Homecoming Church: The Homecoming Church is run by Pastor Elmer Harris. Ten miles outside of Inez, the church is home to a congregation of families of Calf Creek Hollow.

Phone: 606-298-7778

Mud Creek Clinic: Part of Big Sandy Health Care, Inc. Community Care Fund and based in Floyd County, Ky., donations to the clinic help support important programs, such as cancer screenings, childhood dental health projects, childhood immunizations, diabetes treatment and prenatal care.The organization's Eula Hall Scholarship Fund provides financial assistance for area students pursuing careers in health care or social services, and the Eula Hall Patient Assistance Fund covers health care costs for uninsured or indigent patients.

Phone: 606-587-2200 or 606-886-8546

Other Organizations Helping Families in the Region:

Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation: The Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation (ARH) offers technology and healthcare serivces, working to address the growing healthcare needs in communities that traditionally rank lower than average in major health statistics.

Phone: 606-487-7566

Appalachian Region Missions: The Appalachian Region Missions works with volunteers to provide services to low-income families in eight counties of eastern Kentucky. Its mission is "to assist the neediest of the needy," distributing food, clothing, school supplies and everyday items.

Phone: 901-794-1971

Appalachia Service Project: Appalachia Service Project (ASP) works to address the housing needs of central Appalachia. According to its Web site, each year 15,000 volunteers repair homes for 400-500 low-income families in the region's rural areas. ASP encourages volunteers to travel to Appalachia to help with home repairs.

Phone: 423-854-8800

Cowen Creek Community Center & Music School: The mission of Cowan Community Action Group, Inc. is to provide educational, social, cultural and recreational experiences for the entire community in order to strengthen and sustain a wholesome and healthy lifestyle that encourages intergenerational relationships.

Phone: 606-633-3187

Computers for Kids: Computers 4 Kids (C4K) is an innovative project that brings together public and private partners to help disadvantaged children and their families join the Information Age. This is accomplished by placing computers in the hands of disadvantaged populations so that they have access to abundant technological resources and can perform basic computing functions.

Phone: 502-875-7501

Family Resource Youth Service Centers :The Kentucky Family Resource and Youth Services Centers were established as a component of the historic Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) of 1990. The mission of these school-based centers is to help academically at-risk students succeed in school by helping to minimize or eliminate noncognitive barriers to learning.

Mountain Association for Community Economic Development:Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) works with people in Kentucky and Central Appalachia to create economic opportunity, strengthen democracy and support the sustainable use of natural resources.

Robinson Scholars: Robinson Scholars is a scholarship program for first-generation eastern Kentuckians trying to go to college.

Phone: 859-257-5874Phone: 606-788-6007