My church is in the midst of a summer series called Neighbor. The call is simple: Get to know those who live near you, and pray for them.
I have a long way to go toward being a good neighbor - particularly to those with whom I'm not well acquainted. This summer, I'm working on changing that. (Here's a POST about a flower delivery activity our family did in our neighborhood a few weeks back.)
I love hearing what other folks are doing, to reach out and connect, and have been blown away by a group here in Geneva, Ill., that's neighboring with so much love. It's name? The Love Your Neighbor Club, comprised of children and parents devoted to serving neighbors together.
The Love Your Neighbor Club has partnered with a nearby elementary school with a large population of students for whom English is a second language. Many local refugee children attend this school, as well. Over the past two years, the club has made a big impact through the following initiatives:
- Snack Packing: Each month, the group packs 60 snack bags, which are distributed to the hungriest children prior to long weekends and breaks.
- School Supply Drive: As a result of Love Your Neighbor's efforts, last fall (for the first time in many years) all students who needed school supplies and backpacks had them at the start of the year.
- Halloween Costume Collection: Because of cultural differences, many students who attend Love Your Neighbor's partner school don't understand our American celebration of Halloween and are in need of costumes to wear in the school's Halloween parade. Last year, Love Your Neighbor delivered costumes so every child could participate (and take the costume home, as well).
- Book Drive: Many students at the partner school don't own books and, because of citizenship status, aren't eligible for a library card yet. Love Your Neighbor collects and distributes books at a table, so children can pick out the book that speaks to them.
If you are looking to love on neighbors in your community, or a neighboring community, aren't these fantastic ways to serve? A good place to start: Ask a local church if they can connect you with families and schools in need of support.
Bless you, Love Your Neighbor Club, for undertaking this incredibly important, inspiring work!
Matthew 22:36-39 - "Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?" Jesus replied, " 'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' "