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In West Virginia’s poorest county: We shared kindness and heard stories of hope.

For the last several years, Best You Best Me has visited McDowell County with one goal in mind: to help improve the lives of residents. Each time we arrive, we strive to create a bigger and better event than the last. This year was no exception.

We joined forces with ProJet Aviation and Smokehouse Pilots to gather and deliver donations to McDowell. On June 2, I headed to McDowell County with a truck full of supplies while Smokehouse Pilots flew volunteers down in nine planes. 

It’s important to mention that when organizing each Food and Supplies event, we want to bring immediate relief to families. At the same time, we are looking for long-term solutions to help the people of this area become self-sufficient. To find answers, we must draw McDowell closer to you with the stories of residents.

That’s why I met Darek Tyson, Carol Sizemore, Jack Fultz, and Marjie Moore on the first day in McDowell. These four individuals are local leaders and are deeply involved in their communities.

As the editor for Welch News and independent filmmaker, Darek tries to share positive stories from the area. He insists McDowell is a special place worth fighting for. An experienced mayor from Northfork, Carol has made it her mission to improve infrastructure to bring development. Jack and Marjie came to McDowell from other states and dedicated their lives to helping kids and the homeless. In our conversations, they shared their hopes and solutions for the county. Please visit our YouTube channel to hear full stories.

I was moved by those incredible individuals who stayed and fought for a better future despite the opportunity to go elsewhere. Those talks reminded me that there is hope for McDowell.

McDowell is the place you have to experience with your heart first.

Marjie

I agree with her. People here have also touched my heart, which is why I keep coming back.

And while we all hope for a long-term solution, families will still need compassion and food to get them through the night. That’s why the Food and Supplies event is so important. The day after the interviews, I went out and bought fresh fruits and food locally and added it to the truck filled with donations. The word spread quickly through the county, and many people were already there when I arrived, excited to see us. Soon it was obvious that this was our biggest event so far!

Our team delivered 150 boxes of food, each feeding a family of four for two weeks, as well as clothing, blankets, shoes, and other supplies. Everyone enjoyed the lunch together. The gathering was also an opportunity for people to renew friendships and bolster their hope for the future. There were lots of kids running around and laughter in the air; It was heartwarming to see how much hope and joy a single event could spark in so many people. That scene followed me home, bringing a smile to my face.

Best You Best Me would like to extend our deepest gratitude to PROJET AVIATION, SMOKEHOUSE PILOTS, LEESBURG EXECUTIVE AIRPORT (JYO), RECYCLE LIFE, and everyone who helped. It was a team effort, and we couldn’t have done it without everyone. You are all incredible!

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