Hearts of the Neighborhood
About a year ago when we all were put on lockdown, a lot of effort was put into making sure our most vulnerable residents were able to have food when they couldn’t make it out to the store.
One of the spots we chose to help was the Emma O. Johnson senior living center located on Edgemont Ave. The Near Northwest Faith Partners in connection with The Boulevard Place Food Pantry supplied food donations. Indygo first stepped up to help us transport the food and then after their departure, Nine13Sports, came in and is still currently making the runs for us.
As we came into the facility, we saw that a lot of the residents there were having to meet outside because of Covid but also, because their own community room was basically being used as more of a storage unit and virtually had no working appliances. The residents asked if there was anything that we could do to help as they longed to be able to watch TV, play cards, or hold food gatherings for their neighbors and families so I made a few calls and before I knew it, everyone was enthusiastically banding together to see how they could help.
First, Brandon Cosby from Flanner House offered to donate a new French door fridge. That was followed by Sharon Clark from AspirehouseIndy who brought Butler University students to come and do a cleaning and removal of the heavy appliances. Keep Indianapolis Beautiful stepped in to donate 20 gallons of paint and neighborhood residents, including myself, poured in many hours painting the room. As the room was undergoing its transformation, residents like Phyllis Hackett and Carolyn Watts and stakeholders like Sharon Clark came in to help start the reconnection of communication to the occupants.
Once the painting was finished, AspirehouseIndy brought in a brand new stove and Christmas tree with poinsettias and the Near Northwest Faith Partners donated a new microwave and coffee maker. And, Centers of Wellness for Urban Women (CWUW) donated games for the residents. All during this time, what really was donated was love and time.
It's time to reconnect with our neighbors and share laughs and fellowship.
But, the love didn’t stop there as a call came in from Amanda Milner from Fair Haven to ask if she could donate a couch to the room. After a very happy “YES” from the residents, she not only donated the couch but also gave away over 20 items of various furniture for the residents to utilize in their own apartments! Shortly afterward, we received another call both from 16Tech with a large financial donation which helped us cover all the little things we had forgotten about like tools, kitchen items, and an antenna to the BRAND NEW 55in flat screen donated by Derek Tow of The Box Studio, which became the centerpiece of the whole room.
Finally, the room was finished with a donation of labor and parts to replace the electrical outlets by David Powers from Indy Shakes. Now finished, you can’t go by the room without seeing a card game, a televised soap opera gathering, or a “vibrant” argument on who knows all the state capitals!
I am pleased with the results of this venture but, more importantly, that our residents got to see the work and care of their fellow neighbors and institutions from their own area. Everyone willingly stepped up to make this project a success and as Kenny Robinson, an Emma O. Johnson resident said after seeing the work put into this, “I ain’t ever leaving this room!”
By Ron Rice