Hot Meals and Hope in West Virginia

Carolyn Floyd with Hollie, cousin of one of the center's beneficiaries.
Carolyn Floyd with one of the children of the center. Photo by Michael Gibeault.

With her infectious enthusiasm, Carolyn Floyd, 21, just doesn't have southern hospitality. She personifies the term. But beyond her warmth and friendliness, Carolyn has something deeper in her heart: an insatiable love and compassion for the poor.

When Carolyn was 12, her father felt a calling for the entire family to serve the poor. For two years, they traveled to different parts of the country, answering that call. They finally found their home at the Appalachian Dream Center in Holden, West Va. Since then, they have ministered to the poor, and in doing so, have seen the power of God's Word at work.

The Appalachian Dream Center (ADC) was founded by local church pastor Michael Hartwell in March 2001. Since then, the 40,000-square-foot center has served as a beacon of hope. Through a partnership with American Bible Society and Operation Compassion, the ADC provides hot meals, take-home food, clothing, living necessities and Bibles to the poor of southern West Virginia.

The ADC also serves as a shelter for victims of natural disasters. The center's two upper levels have been converted into bedrooms, each equipped with Bibles and Scripture Portions. Among them is the God Understands Scripture Portion boxed set, which offers comfort for those who feel hopeless and afraid.

Helping people find encouragement and healing in God's Word is crucial. That's why ABS offers different types of Bibles and translations at ADC. From the children's picture Bibles to the senior adults' large-print versions, God's Word is available and ready for the taking.

Large-print version Bibles have been especially valuable in ADC's ministry. Carolyn tells the story of a man who used his glasses and a magnifying lens to try to read God's Word. When he received a large-print version Bible, she recounts, he cried with joy and said, “I can read my Bible now!'” He is just one of many older adults who found healing and encouragement just by being able to see and read Scripture.

A sampling of the ABS Bibles and study materials available at the Appalachian Dream Center.
A sampling of the ABS Bibles and study materials available at the Appalachian Dream Center. Photo by Michael Gibeault.

While patrons might have familiarity with Scripture, some find the Bible hard to read because the language is complex. This is why ABS' Good News Translation and Contemporary English Version Bibles are so beneficial. By simplifying the wording and sentence structure — yet keeping the message the same — these Bibles have made God's Word relevant and meaningful so all can experience its life-changing message.

“What we do here…this is my heart,” Carolyn says. “[But] if we just give people food…if we just meet their physical needs…it's all in vain. It's about introducing them to Jesus and a love they may have never known.”

God's Word is, indeed, active and alive in Holden, West Va. The ADC testifies to this truth, as it continues to provide comfort and make paths clear.

Thanks to the support of our faithful financial partners, American Bible Society has been engaging people with the life-changing message of God’s Word for more than 200 years.

Help us share God's Word where needed most.

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