The Huffington Post
By: Amy Guerrieri and Jenifer Howard
July 18, 2011
With the dim news about rising unemployment reaching 9.2 percent, job prospects in Martin County, Kentucky, one of the most poverty-stricken areas in Appalachia, are pretty few and far between. After working in the area for more than two years, the Rockin' Appalachian Mom Project (RAMP), saw an opportunity to help some entrepreneurial individuals in Martin County through a microloan program. The goal of the program is to create jobs, revenue for local residents, and long-term sustainability. The RAMP Microloan Program, created in partnership with Rockin' Water™, a kids beverage company, and Whole Foods Market, that has partnered with RAMP, has funded its first microloan in the area to Betty Harris. We've written about Betty before -- she is a standout example of a leader in her community that won't put up with the status quo; she is a go-getter, and a person of strong faith and beliefs -- so much so that she puts aside her own struggles, both financially and in health, and puts others before her. Betty and her husband Elmer, of Inez, Ky, have helped put food on the table of more than 500 families. They run a small church, food pantry and community garden on the top of a hollow in the Calf Creek region of the Appalachian Mountains. And, since the first day we met Betty, she has told us about her dream to have her own sewing and quilting business.