Social Service Groups Cooperate to Stabilize Family

The following report by Terrie Cross illustrates how social service groups in Scott County, Tennessee frequently cooperate to stabilize families who have sunk so low that their only hope is for Christian charity. In this case, Morgan Scott Project for Cooperative Christian Concerns (MSP), Appalachian Life Quality Initiative (ALQI), and The Remote Area Medical Clinic (RAM) in Scott County are working together, each in their special way, to help a mother with two small children to relieve their suffering, regain their health, establish a reasonable standard of living, and eventually, restore their dignity.  (For pictures of the work in progress visit our Facebook page Morgan Scott Project for Cooperative Christian Concerns)

This is not the first time this site has reported such cooperation between social service agencies in this poverty-stricken area. Our confidence in the work being done here is why we continue to advocate that individuals and churches support these efforts. As always, the ultimate goal of this work is to eventually make these families and individuals contributors to the community.

Remote Area Medical (RAM) – Home visit June 21-22, 2014

It took us an hour to get there—but what is an hour when someone on the other end is suffering and down about as low as a person can get? After assembling a physician, medic, volunteers, and drivers, the team set off to help a mother and her 5 and 1-year-old sons.

We arrived to find a mission team from Michigan (working in conjunction with the Morgan-Scott Project of Deer Lodge, TN) at the house building a storage shed and shelving inside the home. The mission group included teens and adult chaperones. This was the third mission team to work on this one project. They had put a new siding on the house; added a roof and railing to a wrap-around porch; and were putting the finishing touches on the shed. Inside there were young people putting a shelf over the kitchen sink beside new cabinets, sink, and counter top. When the first team arrived the floor was made of old boards; there was no running water or kitchen cabinets/counter, or bathroom. The house now has been completely rewired, has new walls, ceiling, inside running water, a bathroom, washer, a completed kitchen, kitchen table, curtains, and linoleum floor. A portion of the mission group was also upstairs in the bedroom putting finishing touches there and helping organize and clean up the clutter that had acquired.

A lady physician with the most wonderful personality walked into the house and went straight to the baby who was sitting on the couch. Being careful not to hinder the feeding tube attached to the stomach area, she held him in her arms and talked to the mother. The baby boy was a year old, had a cleft pallet and feeding tube. He could not use his legs at all and one had a bad red sore on it. In talking with the mother she found that surgery had been performed on the baby’s mouth and that she had been putting ointment on the leg sore. She also learned that therapy for the baby’s unresponsive legs had been denied by the Medicaid insurance. The mother showed the doctor how she exercised the baby’s legs herself (bicycle pumping action).

Next the mother was examined and showed the doctor an area under her arm that was bothering her, and the doctor determined it was a staph infection. The doctor also looked at her teeth and confirmed the need of extensive dental care, as all her teeth were decayed beyond repair. The 5-year-old boy was determined to be healthy at this time and in no need of medical assistance. The mission group that was on site working construction just happened to have 3 registered nurses in their group. When asked, these ladies became instant Florence Nightingales. The physician asked them to find dressing and attend to the sore on the baby’s leg. They were more than willing to help.

The next day Stan Brock, along with a dentist, his nurse wife, an optometry student, videographer, and 3 volunteers arrived at the house finding the mother hanging up clothes to dry on a new clothesline on her new front porch. The 5 year old had his fishing pole with a stick tied to it (representing a fish) and was still casting. A volunteer had repaired the pole the day before. The 1-year-old boy was propped up on the couch, the same as the day before. The child did not react or fuss either of the two days we were there.

Stan Brock greeted the mother and talked with her about her situation and then offered to assist her with dental and eye care. It wasn’t long before the 3 family members had their eyes checked and the mother was ready to have all her upper teeth extracted by the surgeon. Utilizing his wife/nurse as his assistant, it didn’t take the skilled dentist long. The grandmother was there to help her daughter after the surgery.

Stan Brock stated that RAM would return to provide more assistance to this mother and two children. She has more teeth that need to be attended to and will need upper dentures. The Scott County Dental Clinic will make the impressions and provide the dentures and RAM will pay for them. Her income is $710 a month. She needs help with the paperwork to secure coverage of therapy for the baby and will need gas for her car in getting the baby to therapy/doctors. The mother has an older model car but she has to start it with a screwdriver and it was setting there with no gas.

It was determined that Morgan-Scott Project was temporarily paying a couple months of her insurance payments (I believe that was $58 a month) but further financial aid is needed to stabilize this family. Morgan-Scott had also provided some food and cleaning supplies for the new kitchen. ALQI has a crib to replace the outgrown bassinet as well as diapers and some clothing for the family. Ella Smith, Executive Director of Morgan-Scott Project, is the contact person for this family. 423-965-3131

Organizations working on this project: RAM, Morgan-Scott Project, and Appalachian Life Quality Initiative

The Remote Area Medical Clinic in Scott County, TN on June 21-22, 2014 saw 650 patients with a value of $377,347.44. Scott County continues to have the highest unemployment (4 years) in the state of TN.

Report by Terrie Cross, Executive Director of Appalachian Life Quality Initiative (ALQI)

Second Quarter 2014 MSP Results

MSP Treasurer Tamia Bible

MSP Treasurer Tamia Bible

As the second quarter closed, the Morgan Scott Project was filled with the sounds of busy volunteers from all over the country lifting and toting materials, swinging hammers, sawing wood, and doing all the other things needed to make homes safer and more accessible. Thanks to those volunteers and all of you supporting our missions, the Project ended the first six months of 2014 slightly in the black with a net change in assets of $3,000.

43% of our contributed support of $108,000 came from individuals, 50% from churches, and 7% from grants. It is interesting to note that last year only 16% of our support was from individuals. We are so grateful for the enthusiasm of our individual donors. An additional $15,000 was received in our thrift store and is used to offset overhead, or the cost of running the Project itself.

We spent $90,000 on our various missions. Some of these included $20,000 in those home repairs mentioned above, $21,000 in emergency aid to the needy, $12,000 in educational support, with the remainder going to such things as food boxes, garden supplies, support for the Homeless Shelter in Scott County, and scholarships.

Our fund raising expenses were $2,000 and overhead costs were $28,000 or 23% of total expenditures. The Thrift Store covered 56% of overhead, which means that of every dollar contributed, only $.10 actually went towards the expense of running the project.

So, 90% of each dollar that you have so generously contributed goes to making life better for someone in need, and these dollars are magnified exponentially by the time and labor of our many volunteers. Thank you all from the Board and staff of the Morgan Scott Project. We could not do it without you.

 (Please note that all figures included in this article are unaudited and as such are subject to change.  Our auditors with the Form 990 issue final results, the return submitted to the IRS.  All figures here are rounded and are based on the internal reports used by the Board of Directors to monitor our operations. – Tamia Cloud Bible, CPA, Treasurer.)

1Q 2014 MSP Financial Results

MSP Treasurer Tamia Bible

MSP Treasurer Tamia Bible

The Morgan Scott Project closed the first quarter of 2014 in the red by $6,000.  Of the $37,000 contributed in cash donations, 63% came from individuals and businesses, 31% from churches, and 6% from grants.  An additional $7,000 was received in the thrift store and is used to offset overhead.

The Project spent $37,000 on its various missions. Some of these included $11,000 provided in emergency aid, $4,000 each in home repairs, aid to the homeless, and educational support, $3,000 in free food and food boxes, and $1,000 in support to the Free Clinic in Deer Lodge, TN.

Overhead, or the cost of running the Project, was $12,000 and 24% of total expenditures.  The Thrift Store’s contributions covered 59% of this, which means that of every dollar contributed only 10 cents went to overhead.

We are entering the busy home repair season and looking forward to seeing our many volunteers who come from all over the country to make homes safer and more habitable for many in need.  We thank all those who donate their time and their resources to make this possible, as well as help us in our other missions.  You DO make a difference.

 (Please note that all figures included in this article are unaudited and as such are subject to change.  Our auditors issue final results with Form 990, the return submitted to the IRS.  All figures here are based on the internal reports used by the Board of Directors to monitor our operations. – Tamia Cloud Bible, CPA, Treasurer.)

2013 MSP Results

MSP Treasurer Tamia Bible

MSP Treasurer Tamia Bible

A special thanks to all of you who support the Morgan-Scott Project and make it possible for us to help those who struggle to pay their electric bills, to buy their medicines, to feed their families, and to keep a roof over their heads.

Because of your generosity, our contributed support from all sources, both monetary and non-monetary, has grown from $106,000 at the end of 2006 to $$308,000 at the end of 2013.  While contributed support has tripled in that time, spending on our missions has grown by more than 800%, from $21,000 to $189,000.  At the same time, we reduced our internal overhead rate from 80% to 22% meaning that, when combined with an increase in Thrift Store sales, approximately 88 cents of every dollar contributed now goes to help those in need.

And here are the numbers that matter…as a result of your giving, this year we were able to provide emergency aid to 350 families, give food boxes and free food to 3,379 families (much of it through our Friday Food program), repair 33 homes using the help of 285 volunteers, see 84 new patients in the new Free Clinic in Deer Lodge, help 31 adults with their education, distribute seeds for home gardens to 365 families, and give Christmas presents to 1,744 children.

The Project ended the year with a small negative change in net assets of approximately $4,000.  Of the $308,000 received, $43,000 came from individuals, $140,000 from churches, $40,000 from grants, $28,000 from our thrift store, which is used to help offset our overhead costs, and $57,000 came from goods and services donated.  This year a number of donors made use of the DONATE button on the website and made secure donations through PayPal.

Our largest mission programs in terms of spending were home repairs ($52,000), emergency aid ($40,000), and the New Light educational support program ($27,000).

So thank you from the widow who comes for Friday food.  Thank you from the woman who is no longer confined to her home thanks to her new wheelchair ramp. Thank you from the man who now has a job and can support his family because of the New Light program.  Thank you from the child hugging a new doll at Christmas.  And thank you from the staff and Board of Directors of the Morgan Scott Project.

 (Please note that all figures included in this article are unaudited and as such are subject to change.  Our auditors issue the final results on form 990 that is submitted to the IRS.  All figures here are based on the internal reports used by the Board of Directors to monitor our operations. – Tamia Cloud Bible, CPA, Treasurer.)

When Help Is Needed, People Come Through

Gifts for Boys

Gifts for Boys

Gifts for Girls

Gifts for Girls


Each Christmas, Morgan-Scott Project cooperates with several other social service agencies to make sure that all children in Scott and Morgan Counties in Tennessee receive Christmas gifts.  The following article appeared in the Scott County News about the Christmas give-away in Scott County:

“When help is needed, people come through.  For the Saturday night and Sunday afternoon Toy Event at the Boys & Girls Club, a total of 137 volunteers showed up ready to do whatever was necessary to provide each parent with two toys per child for Christmas.  That was twice the number of volunteers we had last year – and the committee is very grateful.  A group of UT freshmen came and a mission group from Boston, Massachusetts – who even stayed and helped with the clean up and load the toys not used (which will be used by the Unicorn Fund and Morgan-Scott Project for later events).  This year 432 families were served.  That covered 528 male and 556 female children for a total of 1084.  The event was held on Sunday this year and the hours were shorter, but there was ample time to serve everyone.  Last year 571 families (1230 children) were served.  The event this year was supported by the Unicorn Fund, Morgan-Scott Project, Appalachian Life Quality Initiative (ALQI), Salvation Army, Operation Sharing TN, and the Women’s Shelter.”

Morgan County had their gift give-away on December 19th at the Sunbright United Methodist Church.  Mission of Hope delivered a truckload of toys, food and coats at 8 am and toys were given out starting at 9 am.  The Morgan-Scott Project, The Unicorn Fund, and The Salvation Army served 252 families, consisting of 313 boys and 353 girls.  The numbers in Morgan County were down this year, probably because the unemployment rate is lower than last year, which is good news.

It is heartwarming to see the generosity of the many people who contributed to this program and the cooperation of the many agencies that sponsored it.  The people of Morgan and Scott Counties thank you.

A Hand Up – Not a Handout

MSP Treasurer Tamia Bible

MSP Treasurer Tamia Bible

Summer mornings at the Morgan Scott Project mean volunteers rolling out of bunk beds, getting breakfast and assignments for the day, gathering tools, and heading out to the current home being repaired.  The days are spent sawing, hammering, nailing, and painting on wheelchair ramps, porches, kitchens, bathrooms, or roofs for clients who are often older or disabled.  This summer 28 homes were repaired by 259 volunteers who gave up their vacations to make someone’s life better, epitomizing the Project’s motto, “A Hand Up – Not a Handout.”

The materials to make these repairs must generally be purchased and, as with all things, are not cheap.  Unfortunately, in the first nine months of 2013, monetary donations lagged behind expenditures, resulting in the Project ending the period in the red by $27,000.    $174,000 was received, but $201,000 was expended.  Specifically, $158,000 was spent on the home repairs mentioned above, plus emergency aid, free food, educational assistance, seeds and garden supplies, and the new Free Clinic in Deer Lodge, TN.  Fund raising costs were $3,000.  Overhead, or the cost of running the project, was $40,000, which was just 20% of total expenditures.  However, over half of overhead was offset by the earnings of the thrift store, resulting in 89 cents of every dollar donated being available to help those in need.

In addition, $16,000 worth of food and goods were donated, which helps us to stretch our resources further than would be possible otherwise.

We need your help to continue our mission of making lives better for those who are struggling.  Whether monetary or through gifts of your time or goods, we appreciate it all.  Thank you for your support.

(Please note that all figures included in this article are unaudited and as such are subject to change.  Final results are issued by our auditors with the Form 990, the return submitted to the IRS.  All figures here are rounded and based on the internal reports used by the Board of Directors to monitor our operations. – Tamia Cloud Bible, CPA, Treasurer.)

Ella Smith Nominated for THDA Remarkable Achievement Award

Ella Smith, Executive Director

Ella Smith, Executive Director

Morgan-Scott Project’s Executive Director Ella Smith has been nominated for the Tennessee Housing Development Agency’s Remarkable Achievement – Rural Award, presented at the Governor’s Housing Summit in Nashville on October 7-8, 2013.

Ella is the sole employee of the Morgan-Scott Project, which completes the most Emergency Repair Program projects of all of East Tennessee Development District’s community partners.  This year she hosted 20 work groups, consisting of 249 volunteers, who worked on 22 homes and did two community service projects in Morgan and Scott counties.  The Tennessee House of Representatives also honored Ella in October of 2012 for her achievements.

Each year, work groups from churches all over the United States converge on Morgan-Scott Project to repair and improve housing for deserving elderly and handicapped families in these impoverished communities.  For the past four years Faithful Advocates Standing Together (FAST), a group representing young people from the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ has supplied many of the groups of young people to MSP.

We congratulate Ella for her fine work and for the recognition that she so richly deserves, and we thank the many volunteers and donors who make her work possible.