Neighbor to Neighbor Day was one week ago today. It was a bright sunny day, and from early in the morning, our space and staff were buzzing with energy and purpose.
At the end of the day we were asked — was it a success? For me, there are so many reasons that the answer to this question was yes! Some included having:
- A wonderful group of attendees — many of whom walked through our doors for the first time
- A roster of great activities, including a poverty simulation and a jam-packed panel discussion on poverty and economic mobility
- Exceptional honorees, incredible sponsors, great raffle prizes, delicious food, and lively music
But for me, more than all of the above, success was determined by the stories, the emotions, and the moments in between. They included:
- The neighbor who dropped off dozens of in-kind donations in the past, but had never stepped inside our Center. Upon entering and meeting the team, she expressed how beautiful, peaceful, and welcoming the space was and how she imagined neighbors who come for help feeling at home and supported when receiving services. She shared that it made her think of our services in a whole new way.
- The neighbor who needed to make difficult decisions as part of his role in the poverty simulation — between transportation for work and food for his family — and kept shaking his head saying, “It just doesn’t seem right.”
- The attendee who said, “I needed to be here today — life has been tough, but now I feel like people care and are on my side.”
- The attendee who, after receiving a mattress at our bed giveaway, drove down the road and purchased a ticket, and shared how much she believes in our work and wants us to be able to help others
- The many in the audience with tears in their eyes as they heard of the nearly 500 families who tried to sign up for that day’s mattress giveaway, most of whom we did not have the capacity to serve that day
- The volunteer who beamed with pride, having successfully completed the dignity clothing challenge
- The neighbor whose home we transformed through the Furnishing Futures program earlier in the day who then came to the event at the Center to learn more about who we are and what we do
- The guests, including Board members, who rolled up their sleeves to assemble boxed furniture
- The staff member who returned from one of our Furnishing Futures homes and said it was one of the most impactful and meaningful experiences they’ve had during their tenure with A Wider Circle
- The parents who brought their children to learn
- The sponsors who brought their team members to engage
- Those who came to our Center for the first time or the fifty-first time
We value and thank all of us who joined us for Neighbor to Neighbor Day. All of you helped make the day a success.
A Wider Circle was formed on the belief that all of us, as neighbors, can have an impact and support one another. Last Sunday was proof of that — with 49 families provided with beds, four homes completely designed and set up, and more than 200 friends joining us to learn, serve, and celebrate.
Yes, the day was a success, and the exhaustion I felt that night was deeply satisfying.
But, after the music stopped, the guests left, and the lights were turned off, the need remained.
For example, on Monday at our Silver Spring Center, we provided furniture to 15 families, assisted six job seekers, and hosted 51 volunteers. And on Tuesday, we had so many clients on site that there wasn’t room to move in our parking lot.
At the same time, our Ward 8 Hub needed to close early Monday and stay closed for the remainder of the week due to significant violence in the immediate vicinity.
We stand here ready to help, knowing that there are so many in our midst who are struggling.
Yet we can’t do it alone. We need neighbors, partners…. a whole community behind us so we can continue to stand ready to help. So we can grow to help more of our neighbors. And so we can help them sooner.
This month, some of our neighbors have already answered this call: a group of generous donors has pledged to match all donations, dollar for dollar, up to $200,000. They made this pledge because they see, feel, and believe in the power of partnership — the power of all of us coming together in commitment to our neighbors.
But in order to fulfill this pledge, they need you to join them.
Partner with our matchers to show your support today, and your gift will go twice as far.
Stand behind A Wider Circle and with our community, so that all of us can continue to be there when our neighbors call on us for help.
Together, neighbor to neighbor, we can co-create a new, better future where all of our neighbors can thrive.