Love Your Neighbor Day
September 23, 2017


  The king will answer, “Whenever you did it for any of my people….
you did it for me.” Matthew 25:40
 
     
 

The Christian Church of Villa Park is sponsoring its third local action day - Love Your Neighbor Day - on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Volunteers will come together to help homeowners in need in Lombard, Villa Park and Elmhurst. The volunteers are our own members and their family and friends, members of the participating churches Calvary United Methodist of Villa Park and St. John's Lutheran in Lombard, and other members of the community. If you would like to be a volunteer, please download the form and return it by September 2.

We are working to identify individuals and families in Villa Park or surrounding communities who, because of lack of finances or physical limitations, are unable to keep up with repairs and maintenance of their homes, and who could use some help from their neighbors. We will then recruit volunteers who will commit in advance to participate in Love Your Neighbor Day, and who will be sent to out to do the work that needs to be done on September 23, 2017. Are you in need of help on your home? Please apply by August 12, 2017.



         
         
 
Here is what we did our first year...
Love Your Neighbor Day - September 26, 2015
 
     
 
 
     
 

On September 26, 2015, 53 volunteers came together to help 10 homeowners in need in Lombard, Villa Park and Elmhurst. The volunteers were our own members and their family and friends, members of the participating churches Calvary United Methodist and Community Congregational Church in Villa Park, and other members of the community.

The idea of Love Your Neighbor Day grew out of the desire of the members of the Christian Church of Villa Park to open their church doors and move out into the community to serve God. The full vision of Love Your Neighbor Day only became a reality with God’s help and volunteers and financial contributions from our own congregation and other congregations and organizations in the community.

Those who we helped were homeowners who had not been able to keep up with maintenance and repairs on their homes because of physical or financial limitations or both. They came to us through our food pantry, as referrals from the York Township Senior Center, or from seeing Love Your Neighbor Day publicized in the community.

With the funds that we received from our own Open Your Doors Campaign, our Regional church, individual contributions of our members and friends, a special offering collected at Calvary United Methodist Church, and contributions from the Friends of York Township and the Villa Park Senior Concerns Commission, we had enough funds to cover all of the materials and supplies for the work that was done and to provide food and drink to our volunteers throughout the day.

With God’s help, so much was accomplished for our homeowners in just one day. Even before the actual day, a furnace that had not worked since March was repaired by a furnace repairman donating his time and Love Your Neighbor Day covering the cost of parts. On Love Your Neighbor Day, God gave us a beautiful warm and sunny day so that lots of yard work and exterior work could get done.

THE WORK DONE. Yard work completed included cutting down a tree, trimming trees, trimming bushes, cutting down overgrown buckthorn, and weeding. Several piles of debris (including an entire shed) and brush were removed from yards and brought back to a construction dumpster we had at church. On the exterior of homes, siding was cleaned, gutters were cleaned out, a window frame was rebuilt, screen doors were replaced, front cement steps were repaired to look brand new, front wooden stairs were rebuilt, doors, windows, and garage doors were painted, a window screen was replaced, a door lock replaced, a downspout repaired, and weather stripping was replaced on an exterior door. Inside, the walls and ceilings of a living room and dining room were painted. And all of the volunteers at home sites and the homeowners received a great box lunch and extra goodies put together by volunteers back at the church. Some volunteers didn’t stop at the end of Love Your Neighbor Day and did some follow up work later that week.

THE HOMEOWNERS . The homeowners were very appreciative. There were hugs and tears and many thank yous. Some talked about the help they received as being an answer to prayers. Here are a couple of lines from notes received from homeowners:

 

“You were an answer to my prayer. I was restored some Joy & Hope in my life by your kindness. Thank you for walking the talk of Jesus.”

“The whole team seemed to enjoy what was done to perfection. Not only was the day enjoyed by me, but I hope my effort was helpful. There was a feeling of “full steam ahead” by all the group. It was indescribable and so admired! I thank you all and include all in my prayers. With infinite levels of gratefulness and appreciation.”

THE VOLUNTEERS . The volunteers came to serve God by helping their neighbors and came away knowing how rewarding such service can be. Here are a few comments from our volunteers after completing their day of work.

Bill from Calvary United Methodist : “Wanted to say thank you for the opportunity to serve with you and all of the others on Love Your Neighbor Day.  It was a blessing to be able help the Nieves family. Look forward to serving with you and all of the members of the Christian Church of Villa Park.”

Lori from the community: “On behalf of Jenny, Justine, Corey & myself, we just wanted to say thank you for allowing us to be part of such an amazing mission today. We all had such a wonderful experience & truly enjoyed working with such incredible people. Irene was such a fabulous woman & we all feel so grateful for being able to assist her with the projects she needed help with. Thank you so much again & God bless!” 

Ron from the community : “So today was awesome. So much love today from everyone. I really feel blessed for being chosen to be part of this team.”

Greg from CCVP :  “Last weekend we joined together as a church to help those in need in what we called "Love your neighbor day". I would like to thank to the committee members for their work in organizing that event; for I was truly blessed to have taken part in it. Seeing people thankful and grateful to the point of tears brought a true sense of joy to my heart. ‘Our hands, Gods work’ I believe was the motto. My prayers that evening expressed a ‘thank you God’ that I had the ability and opportunity to serve others.”

This was our first Love Your Neighbor Day. Our second was held on Saturday, September 24, 2016. (see report following photos)

 

 
     
       
 
         
 
         
 
       
 
     
 
         
         

On Saturday, September 24, 2016, forty-seven volunteers came together to help ten homeowners in Lombard, Villa Park and Elmhurst. The volunteers were our own members and their family and friends, members of other churches in Villa Park and other members of the community.

Those whom we helped were homeowners who had not been able to keep up with maintenance and repairs on their homes because of physical or financial limitations or both. They came to us through our food pantry, as referrals from the York Township Senior Center, or from seeing Love Your Neighbor Day publicized in the community. Some homeowners were new faces, but we also made an intentional effort to reconnect with others from last year who we felt could still use additional help.

In addition to funds that we received from individual contributions from all participating churches, we also received a $2,000 Mission First grant from the Christian Church of Illinois and Wisconsin. We had enough funds to cover all of the materials and supplies for the work that was done. In addition, nearly all of the food and drink provided to our volunteers and homeowners was donated by local businesses.

God blessed us with wonderful fall weather and after meeting for a coffee and a quick worship, our volunteers went out to their assigned work sites. Some sites were entirely committed to a single task which we worked diligently at all day, like painting the 16-foot ceilings and walls of a great room or clearing years of neglected brush and trees from the property around a home. At other sites, we helped with a multitude of small tasks like repairing flashing, fascia boards, and disposing of debris and garbage. Big or small volunteers approached their work with compassion and kindness and a ready smile. Yard work this year included the cleanup of four severely overgrown yards with the removal of many small dead trees, brush, and piles of yard waste already on site. At other sites, yard work was not the main focus, but still was an integral part of helping to restore the dignity of our homeowners. In all our volunteers filled 100 yard waste bags and bundled many hundreds of pounds of sticks, branches, and logs.

Many homeowners are isolated by the physical constraints of their homes as they age. This year we helped one homeowner by building an access ramp to her back door making it possible for her to roll into and out of her home. For another homeowner, we repaired her sliding glass door providing access to her porch and ramp again.

Painting is another integral part of Love Your Neighbor Day since helping our homeowners modify their physical surroundings restores their confidence and dignity. Since painting is physically difficult, equipment intensive, and materially expensive, this is the second year that LYND has received multiple requests for painting. One homeowner requested the repainting of her great room, including the 16 ceilings and walls. Thanks to God for the efforts of volunteers who worked multiple days to finish the job. Other homeowners received repainted front porches, back porches, trim, and outdoor furniture. There were hugs and tears and many thank yous. For many homeowners the day begins with disbelief because it is hard to understand why so many people would give of themselves so freely; but it always ends with a tiny peek through our volunteers into the face of God.

Thank you to our homeowners for letting us serve you, and thank you to our volunteers for stepping out of our churches and safe spaces into the outspread arms of Christ.