Lisa Lamb Nichols is Serving the Church Through The Jubilee Project

Posted by Monica Hoel
Lisa Lamb Nichols works in a complicated environment: but she still finds hope in the people around her.

Think about the last time you ran into the kitchen and turned on the tap for a glass of water. You probably thought nothing of it. But in Hancock County, Tennessee, fully 20% of the households don’t have access to running water in their homes.

Lisa lives and works in Hancock County as an employee of the United Methodist Church’s Jubilee Project, and much of her work there focuses on providing better sanitation and water access to families who live in this struggling section of Appalachia. Clean water is only one goal for the project; they also focus on food security, shelter, and Christian education. Lisa has spearheaded a lot of food delivery as well as house improvement projects that provide for good health and safety in the home.

Lisa playing basketball with young people in her community. Lisa playing basketball with young people in her community.Lisa has been a Church and Community Worker with the General Board of Global Ministries 39 years, serving youth, heading up after-school programs, and finding ways to fulfill her calling to be in Christian service by offering a hand to those most in need. For 2 years she has worked with Jubilee, living now in Sneedville where she sees first-hand what the challenges are for her neighbors. Hancock County is the poorest county in Tennessee: unemployment is high and the number of those living below the poverty line is nearly double that of the national average. The lack of proper sanitation has also created environmental challenges in the community.

Part of the complication for Hancock County is the actual geography of the community. It’s difficult to grow food because the dirt is “too rocky by far,” and piping water into homes is expensive for local governments because of the steep, curvy terrain. Half of the population of the county lives within the town limits and they have access to town water and sewer. But the other half depends on springs and creeks for drinking water. Lisa explains that providing water is an economic challenge. “It’s expensive to run lines up mountains and through curvy, rocky terrain – and there just isn’t the tax base to pay for it.”

But Lisa says she finds hope every day. She finds hope in the relief she sees in the faces of people who have been served by Jubilee and no longer have to carry water in buckets from half a mile away. She is encouraged by the progress for children and youth who gain structure for setting life goals, personal reassurance, and educational support from the programs they organize. And, perhaps most heartwarming, she sees neighbors who work hard to support each other. “It’s really great to see the number of volunteers who come here to make what they think are ‘tiny improvements’ that are actually life-changing for people.”

You can hear a conversation with Lisa about her work in the WEHC archives (interviews are in alphabetical order).

  • Lisa Lamb Nichols
    Emory & Henry Class of 1980

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1592-tracey-reed-will-do-almost-anything-to-get-your"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,201,720,921/9261_tracey_reed.rev.1610382816.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,201,720,921/9261_tracey_reed.rev.1610382816.webp 2x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,201,720,921/9261_tracey_reed.rev.1610382816.jpg 2x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,201,720,921/9261_tracey_reed.rev.1610382816.jpg" alt="Tracey Reed, E&H Class of 1998, recently put some underwear on her head to promote the day?s ..." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,201,720,921/9261_tracey_reed.rev.1610382816.jpg 2x" data-max-w="720" data-max-h="720" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1592-tracey-reed-will-do-almost-anything-to-get-your">Tracey Reed Will Do Almost Anything to Get Your Kids to Read</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Wearing underwear on her head is just part of the fun of her work. <a href="/live/news/1592-tracey-reed-will-do-almost-anything-to-get-your" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>