Christ’s Hands, Incorporated is non-profit public charity organization dedicated to providing hunger relief within the rural southeastern Appalachian Mountains. Christ’s Hands was founded in Harlan County, Kentucky by a volunteer Board of Directors in 1998 with a mission to promote the knowledge of Jesus Christ through service to the residents of surrounding communities. This mission began with a vision to address local food insecurity while meeting the physical and spiritual needs of local residents. Since 1998, Christ’s Hands has grown from its beginning phase of a local soup kitchen in Harlan County, Kentucky to distributing more than 1,000,000 pounds of food to food banks within three Kentucky counties (Bell, Letcher, and Harlan) with plans to expand into Lee County, Virginia. From its humble beginnings twenty-two years ago, Christ’s Hands has continued to meet increasing food insecurity demands while expanding to provide shelter, housing, education and training for rural Appalachian residents.
The ministry of Christ’s Hands serves over 750 households each month, touching an estimated 3,100 individuals every thirty days. Services seek to “wrap-around” individuals by providing services to meet multiple levels of need through the following programs:
Food and Goods Distribution: Christ's Hands acquires and distributes food and goods to those in need within southeastern Appalachian communities. Food and goods distribution services are provided through the Food Distribution Center, New Covenant Kitchen, Emergency Food pantry, and Feed the Hunger Partnership.
Christ's Hands Food Distribution Center: Our Food Distribution Center currently receives over 30,000 pounds of food each month. Food and goods are received through affiliations with local business, food banks, organizational drives and individual donations. Midwest Food Bank currently delivers one semi-truck load of food to Christ’s Hands Distribution Center each month. Long-standing partnerships with local businesses such as Wal-Mart, Food City, and Don’s Grocery also consistently provide food to the Distribution Center each month. These donations of food commodities are received into the Distribution Center and then sorted by teams of volunteers. Once sorted, the Christ’s Hands organization sends out food supply to over 15 different food pantries and food insecurity organizations. Receiving food pantries are located in Harlan County, Letcher County, and Bell County, Kentucky- where a Smithfield plant is located. Residents within these counties are directly served through Christ’s Hands and would experience unmet need but for our ministry.
New Covenant Kitchen: Our New Covenant Kitchen dining facility serves meals to both homeless and shelter secured individuals within the City of Harlan, Kentucky. A nutritious hot meal is available Monday through Friday as well as the last Sunday of each month. Additionally, hot meals are delivered to homebound individuals within Harlan and surrounding communities who are unable to physically access the dining facility. Since 1998, New Covenant Kitchen has served over 750,000 meals to individuals in need.
Emergency Food Pantry: Over the past 15 years, the Christ’s Hands organization has provided monthly nutritional food boxes to the Harlan County Emergency Food Pantry. This pantry serves Harlan County, Kentucky and has provided over 40,000 boxes of food to those in need.
Feed the Hunger Partnership: Our partnership with Feed the Hunger focuses on bringing nutrition to youth within Harlan, Bell, and Letcher Counties by providing food from the Christ's Hand food distribution center to established youth programs.
Shelter: Christ’s Hands seeks to meet shelter insecurity needs of individuals within southeastern Kentucky by providing shelter for transient, homeless, or temporarily dislocated persons. Housing services are provided through Winter Emergency Shelter, Severe Weather Shelter, the Good Samaritan Room, and a Hospitality Center.
Winter Emergency Shelter- Christ’s Hands provides warm shelter to individuals without sufficient housing from December 1st through February 28th each year. Between the hours of 9:00 pm and 8:00 am, a cot, pillow and blanket are provided for stay within the facility to persons in need.
Sever Weather Emergency Shelter- Our organization offers shelter for up to 100 individuals during natural disasters, inclement weather, or severe weather emergencies. The emergency shelter is operated in partnership with the Harlan County Emergency Management and offered on a continuous basis during declared states of emergency.
The Good Samaritan Room- The Good Samaritan Room is a housing goods ministry of Christ’s Hands which provides assistance to individuals living in substandard or unsafe housing. Our volunteers collect and distribute furniture and household goods to southeastern Kentucky residents who are unable to afford household items necessary for standardized living. Assistance is also offered to individuals who, due to either life circumstances or disaster, are in need of basic household items such as furniture, clothing and other tangible housing products. The Good Samaritan Room began in September 2018. Recently completing it's first year, this ministry has distributed household goods to over 50 families and partner organizations.
Hospitality Center- The Christ’s Hands Hospitality Center offers overnight accommodations for up to 100 individuals traveling to Harlan, Kentucky for the purpose of service to Harlan and surrounding communities. The Hospitality Center provides over 1000 nights of stay each year to volunteers seeking to serve southeastern Appalachian residents though a variety of services or charities.
Education and Training: The Christ’s Hands Organization seeks to provide education, training and personal growth to residents within Southeastern Kentucky. The goal of our education and training programs is to go beyond offering individuals a “hand-out” to also offer a “hand-up.” Through Life Management Education and Job Skills Workshops, we assist in providing a way out of situations which have may have contributed to the poverty experienced by individuals we serve.
Life Management Education- Christ’s Hands offers training and education on life skills within the areas of personal finance, family living, home maintenance and nutrition. These educational services are provided by Christ’s Hands staff, volunteers, and partner organizations.
Job Skills Workshops- Job skills training and skills enhancement opportunities are offered by Christ’s Hands ministry through short-term educational workshops. Workshops are designed to teach basic marketable skills for a variety of in-demand trades or local community needs. Christ’s Hands offers kitchen and food preparation workshops to teach basic kitchen skills, food storage, and food preparation knowledge. Kitchen and Food Workshops are offered in partnership with local organizations to serve individuals identified through Harlan County Drug Court, Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program (KTAP), The Hope Center, and Appalachian Challenge Academy Cadets. Kitchen and Food Workshops are led by the Christ’s Hands Kitchen Manager and volunteers and offer up to thirty hours of weekly instruction. Beyond food service, additional job skills workshops are offered to Appalachian Challenge Academy Cadets. Job Skills Workshops within the areas of wood working, tools/basic electrical repair, commercial/residential window and door installation, auto mechanics, carpentry, typing class and bicycle repair have been offerred. These workshops are conducted through partnerships with local businesses and provide four hours of weekly instruction towards marketable job skills.