The Dove Broadcasting Missions department is a local institution with a worldwide outreach. Every year, we undertake a mission trip to take food, toys, blankets, and love to children and families in the Appalachian Mountains.
In 2016 we will be traveling once again to the mountains of Appalachia, this time for the second weekend in December. We still need your donations of nonperishable food, toys, jackets, and financial support. Thank you to all who have donated so far!
The sun rises over the hills of Appalachia on Christmas morning. Hungry children sleep in their beds, shivering from the cold weather. At the time of year when many children happily run to open their presents, their discouraged parents know that they do not have any to give them. No presents wait under the tree. The parents cannot make ends meet. They struggle to stretch the few dollars they have to pay bills and worry about having enough to provide for their children. Many are sick and unable to work. The lack of job opportunities around them makes it hard for them to find employment that would help give their children food when they hurt from hunger, or a jacket when they freeze from the cold. To these families, Christmas is just another day, void of the magic many of us feel during this normally joyous season. They spend it in their homes with leaky rooves letting in rain and snow. These heartbreaking environments exist throughout the hills of Appalachia. The families just want happiness for their children on Christmas, but they cannot make it happen on their own.
History of Appalachian Project
In 1981, the vice president of WGGS-TV, Joanne Thompson, heard of a parson working to help needy children in the Appalachian Mountains. Reverend Charlie Keyes, also known as The Parson of the Hills, gave clothing, food, and toys to these children at Christmastime, preaching about salvation throughout the hills of North Carolina along the way. Inspired by the work of Reverend Keyes, Joanne asked to join him on his next trip to Appalachia, and together they went. To help get supplies for these families, Joanne expressed need on TV-16’s program Nite Line and encouraged viewers to give their time and effort for a worthy cause. As a result, Joanne brought this project to the Greenville area, inspiring this community to lend a helping hand. Viewers contributed by sending in clothing, food, and toys to fill up trucks to send to those who were truly in need. Joanne worked alongside Reverend Keyes for fifteen years until his death. At this time, Joanne realized that God had been training her to carry on his work by continuing to meet the needs of the disadvantaged and show them the love of God.
The Appalachian Project Today
Since the passing of The Parson of the Hills, the Appalachia Mission Project has continued and evolved. Every year at Christmastime, staff members from WGGS TV-16 in Greenville, South Carolina travel to the mountains of Appalachia in trucks filled with clothing, non-perishable food, and toys for impoverished families who need them. Throughout the year, the community in and outside of Greenville, South Carolina comes together to gather and organize these items for this special missionary trip, heading to a different location each year in the highlands. The station works with social workers in Appalachia to find six families in need and gets them Christmas dinner, a large supply of groceries, and other necessities. They bring presents for the parents and children so they can have something special for Christmas. Upon giving them these presents, they pray with and for them, asking God to give them divine protection, prosperity, comfort, and healing. Ultimately, the events of this trip lead up to “the party,” an event hosted at a local high school that allows all the people in the community who are in need to get presents from the truckloads of items the station brings to the Appalachian Mountains. In so doing, the station and the viewers who help make this project possible bring forth the true meaning of Christmas by giving to one another.