I believe sometimes it can be quite easy to reach into our pockets and send off a donation to a needy organization and then go about our day feeling pretty good; like we’ve helped our fellow neighbor. And it’s true. We did. Anytime you willingly give to an organization you know is working to help others you had a part in that act. But I know sometimes we can stop there and not think of the person actually living next door or down the street; our actual neighbor.
For the past two years Fremont, Ohio has been taking that extra step and looking literally to the right and to the left for neighbors in need. What started out as an outreach with 60 volunteers through a local Lutheran church has grown into a city wide event organized by Katy Ross. The group has attracted more churches and volunteers each year. This year seeing more than 200 volunteers coming from 13 different area churches.
Starting the day with a complimentary breakfast and worship service; Love Your Neighbor Day is called into action. Having a list of people in need prepared in advance; the volunteers do various service projects throughout the community. They stop for the day and take care of their neighbors doing everything from yard work to window washing to painting.
One recipient, Gloria Quinones, had served as a missionary on the Texas/Mexican border. While there she worked as a housemother to over 40 children. She humbly accepted the service; allowing others to help one who had herself helped so many. A few workers made their way, attacking her long overlooked yard; while two others installed a new bathroom door.
Volunteers also descended on Sandusky County Share and Care. They offered hours of cleaning help to director, Lynette Kirsch, freeing her time for other work.
The recipients aren’t accepted based on financial income. Instead they focus on matching needs to able bodied workers.
The program philosophy is sharing grace. No matter what income level someone is at they may have needs they can’t meet for themselves. That’s grace. Sharing God’s love with no strings attached.
The day ends with workers and the homeowners they’ve helped joining together for a pot luck dinner. For some elderly and alone, this meal might be the only one they’ve shared with others in a very long time. This is often more the highlight of the homeowner’s day than the work itself.
Community. Loving your neighbors. Grace in action in a pure, simple form.
This post is part of the Nester’s 31 Day Challenge; Writing on the same topic each day of the month of October. Click on over to the Challenge to find a number of topics and authors ranging from Simplicity & Organizing to Personal Endeavors. You can head back here and scroll to the bottom of this post for a listing of all 31 days of Good News & Good People Doing Good Things.