Project HOPE (Helping Others Prosper through Empowerment), a newly-organized community grass roots organization, is being formed to assist area residents to find help, hope and answers to some of their problems.

"While we're still working on our plans," said Erin Peoples, one of the organizers, "We want to be part of a 'Change in America' that will reach out to people who need help or who just need an idea about where to get help. We would like to be able to provide help to people or, at the very least, give them information they can use to help themselves."

An initial meeting was held Dec. 14 at Peoples' home in Newcomerstown. Additional meetings are being planned. The next meeting is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 28 at 1 p.m. Anyone who is interested is welcome to attend.

Some of the events or projects discussed included:

* Compiling information about what resources are available for people needing food, shelter or clothing assistance.

* Hosting a regularly-scheduled community meal to help families stretch their budgets and bring people together to discuss issues that are important to Newcomerstown and things we can do for ourselves as a community.

* Being in touch with similar programs on the county level to extend the options for those who need assistance.

"We know area residents have always been great about helping each other," Peoples said. "Programs such as Journey's End Ministries and those run by local churches are fantastic. We just want to provide a way to let people know what programs are available."

For information, Peoples can be reached at 498-9433 or