If you aren’t from around here but happened to pick up this edition of The Paintsville Herald, you might come away with the impression that this is an area that’s big on neighbors helping neighbors.

You’d be right. 

We have a feature on the work being done by the local Salvation Army, a group that not only runs a thrift store on community donations, but takes that money and puts it to work helping those in need in Johnson County. The donations of clothing, furniture and more come from people in Johnson County, the loose change dropped in the bell-ringers’ red kettles at Christmas comes from people in Johnson County, and every penny goes back to helping people in Johnson County. 

We have classmates of a man, some of whom have not even seen him in the 15 years since graduation, donating to help his family after he was burned in an accident. 

We have an Eastern Kentucky business that helped raise $13,000 for Soul Food, a group that works to ensure that kids in Johnson and Floyd counties who depend on school lunches for their nutrition do not go hungry on the weekends. That’s enough money to make sure 108 kids in need have a full school year of food every weekend.

We have a young woman at Food City, whose annual car show, now in its third year, continues to raise money to help our local animal shelter. 

The conventions of southern hospitality and generosity do not come from thin air. We have these archetypes only because we exhibit them. 

If we want to keep them, we have to continue to work. 

If you can donate to one of these causes and you haven’t already, give it a try. It will give you a sense of satisfaction that will make your whole week. 

If you cannot, try donating your time. Volunteer opportunities abound in our area, with Christian Appalachian Project, programs from the Johnson County Public Library and local church groups.

Rather than waiting on someone else to come and save Appalachia, we can go farther by stepping up to help ourselves today.

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