mens timberland hiking boots Hippie Jack aids the ‘invisible people’ in need in Appalachia through music
CRAWFORD, Tenn. Nearly five decades ago, Jack Stoddart a socially conscientious, pot smoking, long haired hippie set out to capture a vanishing culture.
With a pair of Canon cameras stashed in his lime green 1963 VW bus, he moved with his wife from Miami to rural Tennessee to document the people of Appalachia.
Stoddart, a gray bearded man more well known as Hippie Jack, has spent the better part of his 66 years living in the hills photographing those whom society has overlooked or looked down upon. 4, 2017. Volunteer Jessica Stoddart Ladd delivers food to Cravens’ kitchen, on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. Jack Stoddart, also known as ‘Hippie Jack,’ started a mobile pantry outreach program which takes food and clothing to the needy in the ex coal mining communities of Wilder, Cravenstown, and Vine Ridge. Liza Cravens at her home in Twinton, where she lives with her son, Teddy (not pictured). She is visited by Jack Stoddart and his daughter, Jessica Stoddart Ladd. At 82 years old, Cravens has lived on the Cumberland Plateau all her life. She used to carry water for washing in buckets from the stream and work the family’s fields with a No. 8 plow and a mule named Jed. “It was rough when I was growing up,” she says. “But when you look back you realize those were the good old days.” Rachel Perez grabs a loaf of bread, one of 80 donated by Great Harvest, while she loads a box of food for her family on the Hippie Bus on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. Perez and her three children visited the bus in Monterey hoping to find support. They moved here from Florida seven years ago. “Right now my husband just started work, so we barely have anything,” Perez said. On the bus she was able to get canned goods and dry goods to eat, as well as gloves, shoes and a few toys for her kids. “You know it’s hard when they want clothes,” Jack Stoddart says. Lucille Phipps, 89, embraces the arm of Lynne Stoddart after she delivers food to Phipps’ home. Phipps bought 13 acres of land on the Cumberland Plateau in the early 1950s. “It’s the best place in the world,” she says. “I have neighbors that check on me and keep me fed.” Lynne Stoddart adn her husban, Jack, started a mobile pantry outreach program that takes food and clothing to the needy in the ex coal mining communities of Wilder, Cravenstown, and Vine Ridge.
They took him in when he needed it most. Now, he and his wife, Lynne, return that kindness.
They host music festivals on their farm to collect food and clothing, and they drive their rainbow colored Hippie Bus along the twisting two lane roads to the top of the Cumberland Plateau to help the neediest among them.
“You just don’t understand what the mountain people had to survive,” Stoddart says, “in order to become survivors.”
‘If it wasn’t for Hippie, I’d be done had”In the tiny town of Wilder, Steve Sellslives with no electricity. No running water.
His home, barely 400 square feet with chipped aqua paint and a leaking porch roof, hasn’t had any working utilities for almost a year.
He’s made some bad choices in life. Had some tough breaks. He spent 13 months in Fentress County jail for theft. He had seven days left on his sentence when his wife died.
Life hasn’t improved much since his release.
“I haven’t had nothing but a hard way to go,” the 47 year old Sells says, peering into his dark kitchen where the stove doesn’t ignite and the refrigerator doesn’t hum.
“If it wasn’t for Hippie, I’d be done had.”
But he doesn’t want to be anywhere else.
Jack Stoddart, a man more well known as Hippie Jack, delivers food to people in need in the tiny town of Wilder, including the home of Steve Sells, who lives with no electricity and no running water. (Photo: )
He was raised on these ridges like so many of his neighbors. Their fathers and mothers were born here, their grandparents made a living here. They worked as coal miners, shirt factory employees, meat plant packers.