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West Virginia Center Rebuilds for the Future

Floods ravaged tiny Caretta, West Virginia, and the surrounding area in both 2001 and 2002. Some 85 percent of the community’s homes were damaged, along with the old Caretta Elementary School, which is the Big Creek People in Action’s center serving the 6,500 people in Big Creek District of McDowell County. The center houses a day care, a family education center, computer classes, job training classes, family literacy tutoring, arts and other programs.

In the aftermath of the flood, the non-profit had to shift resources to help area families with their immediate needs – and repairing the $200,000 damage to its facility – leaving it in a precarious financial situation.

A W.K. Kellogg Foundation Food Systems and Rural Development grant has given the group financial breathing room to involve the community in developing a vision for the future. The group developed a fundraising strategy to attain long-term sustainability, and an organizational strategy to meet the needs of the community, says Frances “Franki” Patton Rutherford, director of Big Creek People in Action.

Repairs on the center were completed in August 2003. While the center serves people of all ages, young people are our target, says Rutherford. Our goal is to better equip our community’s children and young people for the future, and, to provide them opportunity here so they will be part of helping to build this community for future generations.

For more information, contact Rutherford at (304) 875-3418.

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