“Friendly Fridges” suddenly started appearing in February in neighborhoods all over New York. “At community refrigerators, anyone is free to take whatever they want and leave behind food they don’t need, like extra produce. Many volunteers who clean and stock the refrigerators ask local restaurants and stores to donate unused or unsold food items instead of throwing them away.” MelPalola Murrillo said the refrigerator had helped relieve the stress of feeding herself and her 15 month old son, Jonah Santiago.”
Thank God people all over the US are discovering that new forms of “neighboring” are making a real difference. Followers of Jesus and congregations are discovering the impact they can have in the turbulent 2020s for “neighboring” single parents and their kids.
Neighboring volunteers in Bridge of Hope ministries have been journeying with moms, enabling them to get jobs and housing, and enabling their kids to make a good start. Essentially, Edith Yoder, the CEO of Bridge of Hope, invites churches in the US to put together a neighboring group for a single parent mom for up to two years to help them launch their lives and families.
Edith Yoder wrote an email to my wife, Christine, last week reporting, “The first several months of the pandemic were the most stressful days I’ve every experienced with families we serve. We’ve walked with single moms with COVID-19, trying to keep their children from contracting it, we’re walking with Neighboring Volunteers to find ways to support the families they are neighboring while keeping physical distance, and we’ve seen an amazingly beautiful amount of love poured out on vulnerable families in their time of need. Both the beauty and the stress of these days has been such up and down times.”
The wonderful thing about neighboring is that any of us can join those who are doing it. Bridge of Hope is a national organization and you can email Edith Yoder.
“About 400 neighboring volunteers around are scattered around the country with 19 Bridge of Hope affiliates in a dozen states” equipping neighbors to enable single parent families to keep to create a sustainable way of life for their struggling families. Edith Yoder started Bridge of Hope with a few Mennonite congregations but now works with a broad cross section of denominations.
“Bridge of Hope of Greater Denver has more than 10 church partners”. Lindsey Moore, who is the Executive Director, reports in 2020 that “all the moms are working”. However, she states they “just aren’t making enough to afford an apartment.”
Last week, our post urged Christian leaders to wake up and respond to a huge and growing homeless crisis. This post calls leaders to wake up to the growing number of neighbors, who are working and are going to wind up becoming part of the exploding homeless crisis if people of faith don’t step up.
Our post next week will seek to wake Christian leaders to the housing crisis facing the middle class young…many of those in gen next will no longer be able to afford the American Dream house they were raised in! However, we will show you that there may be some better options… for both them and their neighbors! We welcome your feedback.
2020s Foresight: Three Vital Practices for Thriving in a Decade of Accelerating Change is available on Amazon for pre-order.