AMAGON, AR (KAIT) – Despite a population of hundreds, one small community in Jackson County has collected millions for people suffering from cancer or other terminal illnesses.
The group called People Helping People officially formed in 2001, as volunteers in Amagon began organizing benefit dinners and auctions for those struggling to pay medical bills or other expenses.
David Howard, the vice president of People Helping People, says the group has collected more than $1 million since its inception and shows no sign of stopping.
"Just like one guy said, I may have two quarters in my pocket to rub together, and he didn't. I'll give him those, and the next month it may be my time to have the two quarters," Howard said. "That's just the way we work."
Howard was one of the founding members of People Helping People. He explained that the group built a facility in 2004, creating a space to host benefits or other events in the community.
"The love that has come into this, it's just unbelievable," Linda Walker of Weiner said.
Walker and several others traveled from Weiner to Amagon on Saturday, spending the morning to prep for a benefit for her cousin Kenny Gardner.
"I just could not even stop to say how much I appreciate all the friends and family and the businesses that have come together to make this a super, super benefit," Walker said.
Walker held back tears discussing the number of food items and donations provided for her cousin's benefit. Attendees got to bid on dozens of donated items, with all proceeds going to help her cousin pay off medical bills.
"Sometimes our hands are tied. All you can do is pray for them and do something like this to help ease the pain," Howard noted.
He says events like the one Saturday can bring in anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000.
"A normal one is like five to eight thousand, but we have had them up to 17,000," Linda Roberson said.
Roberson serves as secretary of People Helping People. She says the donations have climbed over the years and so has involvement. She, however, finds it somewhat surprising that the economy has slowed so few from continuing to give.
"You know, you think they'll get tired of doing it or can't do it anymore," Roberson said, "but they always come up with something. It's amazing."