Good Neighbors in the Village
“Living out Christ’s love by responding to our neighbors’ needs.”
Good Neighbors in the Village has had a very active summer building ramps, feeding seniors and chair volleyball athletes on Wednesdays, sharing cooking skills and good food with area families through the Healthy Kids Food Box Project (a summer lunch program alternative), and responding to some requests for various kinds of assistance. In addition, our After School Program has started its fourth year of providing a safe and enriching place for children to be during the late afternoon on school days.
The common denominator in all of these efforts is local people extending themselves to local people, without money, without price. We are building community. We are growing good neighbors. Sure, the “targets” of our programs experience a blessing, but so do volunteers. In fact, it’s hard to say who is helped most. And sometimes the receivers in one of our projects become the givers to another. That is the economy of God at work.
Right now, the After School Program needs adult volunteers. Though the program meets every day that school is in session, from 3:30 to 6 p.m., we can use volunteers who have only an hour a week to give. Just let us know the day and the hour, and we will put you to work loving some children (K through Grade 4). As Kay Williamson recently reported to our board, that hour a week you spend can be very powerful in the life of a child. And as Gayle McCreery observed, children who see you at After School may see you in another setting and recognize you, and then they begin to realize what “community” is, and start to feel a part of something bigger than they or their immediate family.
Some shout-outs on the heels of the Healthy Kids Food Box Project, an eight-week summer cooking experience geared at nutritional support and helping families learn to incorporate more veggies, fruits and whole grains in meals: Chef Jim Anderson brought his credibility into the kitchen week after week, demonstrating how to make healthy dishes that kids will eat with enthusiasm. Kathy Rowland added a dose of fun and whimsy while reminding our cooks that meal time is about more than filling stomachs. Deb Fisher and Gayle McCreery showed up to assist in numerous ways. Faith Lutheran Church provided a place for us to meet while Christ UM Church allowed us to fill up their spacious refrigerators with good groceries for a couple of days each week. Worth Harman donated a tank of gas and a truck to use for grocery shopping, along with several pounds of grass-fed beef. South Central Power Foundation and the George and Dollie L. Zimpfer Memorial Fund through Fairfield County Foundation provided support for this project. Finally, our participants brought ideas, questions, laughter, friendship, interest, and joy in the face of daily challenges. We hope to build on this shared experience.
If you want to be engaged in active ministry or community service, GNIV can use you and your skills, whether you are a teen, adult, handyperson, cook or bookworm. You don’t need to come to meetings or take charge of a project (unless that’s what you want to do). To get connected, leave a message with Lisa at the Christ UMC office, 740-862-4343, and we’ll return the call, often the same day. Or call me.
Our next board meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on the first Monday of November (location TBA), and our annual Christmas caroling outing will be on Sunday, Dec. 8. Anyone may join us, or provide us with the name of a household that would be uplifted by a visit from our makeshift chorus.
Holly Harman Fackler, chair