My mom will be 81 next month. She’s in a season of her life that can be rough. She has me nearby, my husband and my kids but I know since my dad has passed away she can get quite lonely at times. We live about 25 minutes away from her and I’m very grateful that she has some awesome neighbors. They keep her sidewalks shoveled in the winter and visit daily for tea. She has told me that the loneliest part of her day is in the evening, when it’s dark out and the light of day is gone as well as its promise of a possible visitor or drive outside.
My mom is actually very fortunate; her health is great and she has good friends and a good church that keep her busy. A lot of seniors aren’t as fortunate as my mom. I hear her tell stories of some of her friends who don’t have families that live close by that can help them or worse, their families are around but for whatever reason the relationship is over or they don’t bother disrupting their daily life in order to help.
In August of 1978 Linda Langstraat found herself living in the inner city neighborhood of Grant Park in Atlanta, GA. She was embarking on a new career of ministering to senior citizens with the Mennonite Central Committee. She started with a group of 35 seniors who had little support and lived alone. In talking with the seniors she found out their greatest need was just having someone to visit with. Linda immediately knew she could handle that and knew this was where God wanted her.
Shortly after she arrived in Atlanta she attended a workshop by Bob Lupton, Executive Director of FCS Urban Ministries. After the workshop she knew she wanted to be the hands and feet of Jesus to these seniors. She and Bob began meeting on a weekly basis to brainstorm ideas for working together to serve them.
As time went on and Linda grew closer to her seniors she noticed repairs that needed done on their homes, hair that needed washed and many other long overdue chores. She began doing all she could for them and as people started to hear of her work they wanted to help. Churches quickly became involved and began helping and donating supplies.
Seven years later Linda realized those 35 seniors she befriended has given her much more than she felt she had given them. Seeing how much this was doing in her own life she decided she’d offer the opportunity to others. The Adopt-A-Grandparent Program came into being. Over 1,000 seniors have been “adopted”, loved and cherished since those early days of the program in 1978.
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.