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Together for Hope
Rural Poverty Initiative

Together for Hope-LA Website

Bags of Hope

Football Clinic

Dr. Malcolm Tolbert on Together for Hope

About the Lake Providence Mural

 

Lake Providence mural

 

 

Together for Hope is the Fellowship's 20-year commitment to offer hope to people in and around the nation's poorest counties (parishes), all located in rural areas.

This is done by listening to local leaders and others who work among the poor in these areas, building relationships of trust with them, learning about existing resources, and walking alongside them to find solutions. The hope is also for all of us to become more attentive to the needs of the poor in our own communities.

We work with local residents, state and regional Fellowship groups, churches across denominational lines, faith groups, non-profits and other organizations to maximize local resources, empower community members, and make a difference in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 25:31-46).

Launched in 2001, the dream for Together for Hope developed out of the Fellowship's Global Missions commitment to most neglected peoples. It was decided to research the counties with the highest percentages of their total population living below the nationally established poverty line, based on the 1995 census.

The 20 counties that emerged from the study were all in rural areas in five regions (Appalachia, Black Belt, Mississippi River Delta, Rio Grande Valley, and High Plains) and seven states (Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and South Dakota).  Out of that list of 20, East Carroll Parish in our own state ranked as the second poorest county in the nation.

In Louisiana, our work is focused in East Carroll Parish (Lake Providence, parish seat) and Tensas Parish.

Volunteers participate in house repair, church construction, health care, clothing, literacy, food supply, recreation, Vacation Bible Schools, economic development, and job skills training and a variety of community development activities. One encouraging aspect in every county is that there are people of faith who are living out the Good News in their presence and witness. Together for Hope may be more like a movement than a program.

State and regional Fellowship organizations are now working with people in seven additional very poor counties that are not on the original list of 20.  Just as importantly, the volunteers and others who are participating with the people in all of these poverty-ridden counties are realizing that there is poverty in their own communities.  They are taking the lessons learned from their Together for Hope efforts back home to make a difference there, too.