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Lend-a-Hand for Appalachia holding a virtual fundraiser

WEIRTON — Lend-a-Hand for Appalachia provides a cross-cultural volunteer experience for students at Weirton Madonna High School, while working to help those in need.

Through preparation for and participation in an annual trip known as the Appalachian Experience, students achieve an understanding of community building and cultural awareness through education, reflection, and responsible action. Lend-a-Hand for Appalachia assists the impoverished communities of the West Virginia Southern Coalfields Region by repairing homes of less fortunate residents and flood victims.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s trip was canceled. It is the first cancelation for the program since its inception in 1997.

“This was a difficult and emotional decision that the group had to make, but we knew it was the right one,” said Mark Gajtka, a board member, who has been a part of Lend-a-Hand since 2004.

In an effort to continue to assist those in need, Lend-a-Hand is hosting a virtual fundraiser for two organizations; the Community Bread Basket in Weirton and the Saint Vincent DePaul Society in southern West Virginia.

“This is unlike anything we have faced as an organization, so the board unanimously wanted to help in some way and it didn’t sit right with us to just cancel and hang back when we have this group of people who have the drive to want to give back. So this is why we decided to continue to fund raise and try to do our part, even if it is as simple as a donation,” Gajtka stated.

Those able to donate are asked to go online to www.gofundme.com/LAH2020, or send a donation by mail to Land-a-Hand for Appalachia, 115 Hemlock Lane, Weirton, WV 26062.

In addition to Gajtka, Land-a-Hand board members include Erica Rogers, Jim Deter, Bianca Brady and Joe Capito.

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