As the Daily Yonder’s year-end fundraising campaign marches on, we are fortunate to be able to renew the Joe and Helen Pickering Challenge. The next $10,000 in reader contributions will continue to be matched dollar for dollar.

Last week I took my six-year old grandson, Eliot, to Walmart to buy Christmas toys for East Kentucky flood victims. We stood in the check-out line and struck up a conversation with an old friend, a retired social worker in the next lane. Eliot told her about the toys. She said her church has been buying plates, glasses, forks, and knives for families who’d been moved into temporary shelter after losing everything. She said to him, “Aren’t we lucky to be able to help out?”

At Rural Strategies and the Daily Yonder we know we are lucky. The flood that took so much from our neighbors spared us by a scant four inches. In response we have used our capacity and good fortune to step up. In the coming weeks we will begin to share documentary stories we have been collecting of ordinary people who did the most extraordinary things. Neighbors put themselves in jeopardy to rescue neighbors. One person after another sacrificed what they had to feed and shelter others. And volunteers showed up from all across the country to help the hardest-hit muck out their houses and rebuild their roads.

Eliot Davis, grandson of Daily Yonder publisher Dee Davis, surveys flood waters in Whitesburg, Kentucky (Photo by Dee Davis).

It is hard to prepare for the thousand-year flood, but we can shine a light on what so many rural communities face when catastrophe hits. And we can lift up the heroism and sacrifice that come into focus when the chips are down.

If you are fortunate enough to help with a gift to the Yonder, then we can match it.

About the Joe and Helen Pickering Challenge

Joe and Helen Pickering were my wife Mimi’s parents and among the first donors to the Daily Yonder when we began publishing in 2007. Helen was a journalist and an activist. She edited the Stanford Daily when the boys were off at WWII. And later she worked for reproductive rights and environmental protection. Joe was a WWII vet and a businessman who began the challenge to honor Helen when she passed away in 2017. Joe died in 2020. The Joe and Helen Pickering Challenge reflects their commitment to making things better, and Mimi and I have kept it going in their memory.


Your contribution is appreciated.

Note, contributions from individuals are eligible to be matched up to $1,000 per donor from November 1 to December 31, 2022, to a combined total of at least $15,000, through the NewsMatch national-matching program. The Daily Yonder has been selected to receive an additional $15,000 in matching funds from NewsMatch for its dedication to providing coverage of rural Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin and highlighting issues that impact residents’ lives and support civic engagement. These matching funds run concurrently, which means every dollar we raise, up to $15,000, is matched twice. Monthly recurring donations are matched at the 12-month value of the donation, up to $1,000. For more details about eligibility see NewsMatch guidelines. The Daily Yonder is a project of the Center for Rural Strategies, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Gifts may be tax deductible; consult a tax adviser for more information.