CY block clubs rally to support Thanksgiving Food Drive

By Suzzane Striker
If it weren’t for block clubs, the 2010 Thanksgiving Food Drive may not have happened. In fact, in the beginning stages, it seemed likely that this important event would not take place at all. This year the food drive lost its primary sponsor. In addition, the originating organizer, Carmen Weaver, as a new mom with a grueling full-time job, decided that it was time to past on the leadership baton.

Knowing how important this food drive is to the Loaves and Fishes ministry at First Congregational Church, I picked up the baton. Being an unlikely organizer of a community event, it wasn’t long before I had my “What were you thinking?” moment. I work from home, and while I have some good friends and acquaintances in the neighborhood, I had no social network to call upon for help – except block clubs.

I became a block captain this summer and our club is still in its fledgling stages. I sent out emails to my fellow block captains pleading for help with the food drive. It took me awhile to stop sending letters and get to the point about what I needed and how people could help. The other captains were patient with me and began to respond to my pleas.
The most daunting aspect of the food drive was getting flyers out. On a map we may look like a small community, but door-to-door distribution is a big effort to coordinate. With help from my block club contacts, the fliers were out to the entire neighborhood one week before the event. Three days before the food drive the pick-up route volunteers were finalized, and I was still receiving emails with more offers to help.

Almost all of the volunteers that made the food drive happen were members of block clubs. Most of them are also volunteers for numerous other Cooper-Young activities. They stay over-booked and extended, yet they
rallied to help our neighbors in need.

Block clubs encourage us to get to know one another and form lines of communication that keep us safer. For me it is also about being a participating member of a community family full of interesting and amazing people. It was those lines of communication and amazing people that made this year’s food drive not only possible but successful.
Loaves and Fishes benefited from our collective efforts, but the food we collected will help them for a relatively short period of time. I feel I am the one who benefited most from this experience. The benefit to me for having decided to get involved with block clubs and work with this ministry will last a lifetime. There are no adequate words to express how profoundly blessed I feel or to measure the depth of my gratitude to everyone I’ve encountered on this incredible journey.
If you do not have a block club, please consider starting one. It may be a little work at first to get people to respond and start participating, but it really is well worth your time and effort. Plus you get to meet some really wonderful people, many of whom may be your immediate neighbors.

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