Partner:The UMC, Holston Annual conference
Describe the need affecting the community.
Hancock County is an area of persistent and pervasive poverty. It ranks as the 2nd poorest county in Tennessee and 27th in the nation with a median income of $23, 892. One in three people lives in poverty and for children, the rate rises to an alarming 45.2%. With unemployment rates ranging from 12.9% to 8.5%, it's had the highest unemployment rate in the state throughout 2015. However, financial statistics aren't the only indicators of the problems prevalent here. According to County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, Hancock County ranked 95th out of 95 counties in the categories of ?health factors? and ?socio and economic factors?, placing it at 93rd for an overall ranking. 5.3% of the homes in the county do not have indoor plumbing and many more lack a source of safe drinking water. For many residents, the only water supply is a spout spring, a pipe tapped into an underground spring and opened into a ditch along the side of the road. Even though this water has been proven unsafe because of harmful bacteria, many of our poorest residents are forced to ?tote? water from the spring to their homes. The cycle of poverty that's been prevalent in Hancock County has left many residents without hope or expectation of ever breaking the cycle. The county is very rural and far from resources which feeds the feelings of isolation and helplessness. This lack of resources is also felt in programs and opportunities for youth and children. Many residents own their homes or live on properties handed down by generations of family members. These homes often lack structural integrity, adequate heating and electricity.
How will this Advance project help to address the need?
1. We host work teams who come to Hancock County to work on improving the substandard housing and making handicap-accessibility changes. 2. We partner with Living Waters of the World, Girls on the Run and churches to address water needs that provide sustainable water and septic systems. 3. We have a youth ministry that seeks to provide life skill and leadership training, as well as spiritual development for the youth of our area. We take them to events outside of Hancock County to expose them to cultural experiences and educational opportunities that will expand their worldview and to meet other Christian youth. 4. We have a women's ministry that provides a safe place for women to gather for support, fellowship, Bible study, crafts and to learn life skills. Here they are able to be encouraged as they struggle under the weight of the feelings of isolation and helplessness prevalent in the area. Also, many are struggling with issues of domestic violence, raising grandchildren, depression or mental illness, and substance abuse issues in their families and they are helped by the support they find within the group. 5. To address the issue of food insecurity we have an emergency food pantry, as well as pantries for personal hygiene, baby and cleaning supplies. We take many other opportunities to help with food which include hosting a monthly mobile food pantry, providing hot meals at meetings, Christmas and Thanksgiving meal boxes, weekend food bags for the youth and the upcoming Summer Feeding Program for children under 18. 6. Beginning in late May, we will be the site of a Summer Feeding Program sponsored through Second Harvest Food Bank which will help to address the food issue for children under 18. Most of whom have been receiving free or reduced meals through the school system during the school year. 7. One of the project's goals for 2016, is to start offering the ?Strengthening Families Program?. This program is designed to help build and strengthen relationships within families, and thus empower parents to help children make positive choices.
Describe the primary goal of the project.
The primary goal of Jubilee Project is to work to alleviate the oppression of poverty in Hancock County by addressing poverty in its many forms. The long-term impact that we hope to achieve includes: 1. Empowering individuals and families to improve their own lives by giving them the tools they need. 2. Improving the standard of living in Hancock County. 3. Providing a sense of God's presence and work in the lives of the people we serve, which will bring Christ's light of hope into their lives.
Describe the change you would like to see in the community as a result of this Advance project.
1. People experiencing an increased level of self-esteem and creation of hopefulness due to improved living standards and building of vital relationships among residents. 2. Youth developing into young leaders who will invest themselves back into the community in the future. 3. People with tools that empower them to do more for themselves. 4. People making healthier choices as far as nutrition and life style. 5. Future economic development by creation of sustainable employment, which would empower the resident population to become less dependent upon governmental and charitable assistance and support.