Appalachian Outreach Receives Early Present

MOUNDSVILLE – Appalachian Outreach Inc. received an early Christmas present recently when a couple from Illinois gave a house and 32 acres of property in the Valley Grove area of Ohio County to the organization as a gift.

“I hope this will be a catalyst for others to consider helping this worthwhile organization,” Daniel Nowotarski said after giving the house to the group. “We are thrilled that Appalachian Outreach Inc. will be able to use the property to further their mission.”

Appalachian Outreach is a nonprofit charitable relief and support organization that collects and distributes donated items to poverty- and disaster-stricken areas of West Virginia.

Rose Hart, AOI co-founder and executive director, said the donation was set in motion well over a year ago, when AOI co-founder Diane Reineke was on a short motorcycle trip with her friend Richard Klug.

The two stopped in Washington County, Pa., at a roadside farmers market, where Reineke started a conversation with Nowotarski and his wife, Sarah, who were traveling through the area from Illinois.

Reineke told the couple she lived in Glen Dale, and Sarah Nowotarski said she once had a friend who had lived on Roberts Ridge in Marshall County. She said that friend was Barbara Klug, who had died a few years earlier.

“When I heard that name I said, ‘No way,'” Reineke recalled.

Though Sarah had met Barbara Klug’s husband many years earlier, she didn’t recognize he was right there with his helmet on. But Reineke promptly re-introduced her to Richard Klug.

“This was totally God ordained,” Reineke said. “Things like this don’t just happen. God has been in this thing from the beginning.

During the ensuing conversation, Reineke told the Nowotarskis about Appalachian Outreach. The couple soon started making donations to the organization. These donations prompted Hart to send information about AOI to the couple and put them on the organization’s mailing list.

Sarah Nowotarski’s family had owned the property in Ohio County, and the couple had intended to fix it up and use it as a summer home.

Their plans changed, though, and they decided to give the house and property to AOI as a gift, thinking it could be used as an office.

Hart thanked the Nowotarskis for their thoughtfulness but said the rural location was a little too far from AOI’s current headquarters in Marshall County to be used for that purpose. AOI board member Paul Boron visited the property and asked if it could be sold and used as a cash asset. The Nowotarskis agreed.

The home and land have been assessed at close to $100,000, and the deed was recently transferred to AOI.

“This is just a shot in the arm,” Hart said. “We are happy with where we are now (in the former Moundsville Giant Eagle building). We would like to acquire this building and make it into a community center, where it could be a one-stop place where people who need help could come and get what they need.

“Right now we just run on a day-to-day hope and a prayer. I am still in awe of the generosity of people in this area, and all over, who help us on a regular basis – the donors and the volunteers,” she added. “But, as much as we have we always need more.”

Appalachian Outreach sent an estimated 9,000 “Shoebox Santas” this year to southern counties of the state as well as truckloads of clothes, furniture, toys and other needed items. Its stated goal is “to be a reflection of God’s love as we meet the basic needs of the communities.”

“We’ll see where God takes us going into the new year,” Hart continued. “Things have been going very well. It’s been an exciting year for us.”

She said the AOI board will meet Jan. 13 to make future plans, including when and how the Ohio County property will be sold.

“We are thrilled with the gift of this property,” Hart concluded. “It is a wonderful gift that will really give AOI a boost.”