HAZARD—Hundreds of people showed up at the National Guard Armory in Hazard on Friday for a free giveaway which included clothing, shoes, and other items.
The giveaway was hosted by the Hazard Perry County Salvation Army service unit, and included assistance from the Mission of Hope ministry in Knoxville, Tn., as well as LKLP and the Perry County Schools' family resource center.
Missy Miller is the chairperson for the local Salvation Army unit, and noted 300 families had signed in during the giveaway's first hour Friday morning. She said with the increase in joblessness in the area, giveaways like this are a boon to local residents.
“Unemployment in this area is overwhelming,” Miller said. “I think we need this now more than ever, and we hope to try to have another before Christmas.”
Many of the items donated for Friday's event came from Mission of Hope, which works with organizations to deliver needed clothing, food, hygiene items, and toys to families in Appalachia. Executive Director Emmette Thompson said his organization is currently seeing the most requests for help in the area since Mission of Hope began in 1995.
“We think a lot of that is due in fact to, like here, as jobs are lost there's no companies coming to replace those, so the need is great,” Thompson said.
Thompson praised the work that people like Missy Miller and the Salvation Army and similar organizations are doing in the area, referring to them as the “heroes” on the front lines of combating poverty in Appalachia.
Miller the Salvation Army was able to provide some of the items during Friday's event, and they were able to get the word out to local residents through media, along with help from the family resource centers sending notices home with students.