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Neighbor News
Spring 2017    

Head on over to the web-site to secure your tickets!  www.goodneighborsbc.org   (events tab)

In This Issue
By The Numbers ...
January -March 2017

Neighbors Served - (rent, utilities, misc...)
Amount disbursed on behalf of Neighbors
Volunteer Hours Given
Number of Calls Received
Follow up Calls Completed
Neighbors Seen for the First Time!
Neighbors receiving information only
Neighbors unable to complete the plan
 Happy Easter!
2017 Board Members
Diana Curtis, Chair
Tanya Smith, Vice chair
Stu Hammond, Treasurer
Eric Weatherbee, Secretary
Suzie Cutshaw
Katie Duncan
Becky Eckert
Barbara Foster
Virginia Hardwick
Bryan Irwin
Michelle Nuchols
Hollie Sigler
Jim Snyder
Erika Weaver
Dan Young


9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
   Please call    865.681.5420
for an appointment    
Important Dates for 2017!!

Saturday, May 6  
St. Andrew's Episcopal Garden Day Community Fundraiser  
(9 am - 2 pm)

Saturday, May 13
Slugs and Bugs Family Festival at River Oaks Fellowship
First Show   11 am (tickets available)
Family Festival  (noon to 2pm)
*Music with Steve Kaufman; 
activities for children and families 
& Food trucks!
    Second Show 2 pm (tickets available)

Saturday September 16th
       Second Annual Moonlight Mile  10 pm
       One mile race in downtown Maryville

Fall date to be announced soon!!
               "Spirit of Good Neighbors" Awards Dinner

How Can You Help?
Make sure your church pastor and office staff know about Good Neighbors
Call Good Neighbors when you need help
If you encounter a neighbor that is struggling, refer them to Good Neighbors
Pray for our community and our neighbors daily
From Where I Sit...
  Lisa Blackwood,
Executive Director 

The first quarter of 2017 (where did three months go!?!!) has been interesting!  We began with a frenzied pace, slowed only a beat or two in February - still above our normal pace and now March has allowed us to breathe just a little.  As the year began we welcomed 4 new board members (Katie Duncan, Becky Eckert, Hollie Sigler and Erika Weaver) with fresh ideas, amazing energy and a deep passion for our community.  Add them to an already engaged, passionate board and what happens - amazing things happen! There are a few surprises ahead!

In the office, follow up calling reveals neighbors who have wisely used their tax refunds, neighbors who are now employed and then neighbors who continue to struggle.  With each call, information is shared to help resource and empower our neighbors to work through whatever is preventing them from a more stable life. 
Our mail carrier has delivered several hand written notes from recent neighbors thanking the staff for their kindness, compassion and assistance.  Such a good feeling to know we are staying true to the mission.  More than half of the neighbors we see are here for the very first time.  They have found us either through a church, friends, their child's school or another social service agency in town.  At first they seem a bit nervous but soon find a level of comfort as they talk through the problem at hand with a warm and attentive coach.  Just setting a plan and having steps to follow makes a big difference and as they leave there is almost always a thank you and "have a wonderful day" shared.

From where I sit, Good Neighbors is making a difference in the lives of our neighbors.  Our neighbors need a place that can help not only financially but also with resources, compassion, care and encouragement.  Judgement is not part of the equation and our neighbors are grateful for affirmation and praise when appropriate.  Isn't that what we all want?  Don't we all want to be affirmed, to be reminded that we are "enough" and that there is nothing that may happen that is insurmountable?  We are not alone.  There is a village - our community, our neighbors, our churches, our family and our friends just waiting to help, to care and to provide a path to a better life. 

One quarter of 2017 has passed.  There are 9 months left to make a difference in the lives of others, to share and care.  I'm pondering my role and responsibility.  How about you?
Stories of Hope
Making A Difference in Our Neighbors' Lives
Donna is an older adult and is struggling just a bit right now.  She is having some medical testing done checking for effects of dementia and has a lot of anxiety.  Recently she had a home repair that cost more than she could cover from her budget.  She felt her only choice was to use a "title loan" company.  She borrowed $200 only to find a few weeks later that she already owed almost $500.  She knew she had chosen poorly but did not know how to get out of the situation.  Her church referred her to GN and she qualifies for FEMA.  Her February rent will be covered for one month and she will be able to balance her budget again.  There are many choices ahead of her and she is getting help to make them.  She was most appreciative of the resources shared.
Susan is a survivor of domestic violence and now lives by herself.  Between jobs, she is left with some tough decisions.  Her CNA license expired recently and she relies on that opportunity for employment.  She is working to get that reinstated and is also looking into the potential for becoming an LPN with additional education.  She has an interview for a job next week.  It looks promising!  With a little support from Good Neighbors her utilities were not disconnected and she was really appreciative of the referrals for food pantries and Welcome Table!
Adam is single, has a good job and is very involved in his church.  To help with expenses he has a roommate.  His family is very close and they support each other when anyone has a need.  Adam missed an entire month of work due to a medical issue and knows that he will have a hard time paying his rent this month.  He used his entire tax refund to pay bills so that he does not get behind.  The landlord does not want to lose Adam as a tenant. They say he has been reliable and fits in well with the other tenants.  Good Neighbors was able to help with his last part of rent. 
His proactive planning and attitude are great signs of a successful young man.  GN also offered food pantry and Welcome Table information.  Back at work now, he will be able to make ends meet

Something to Think About!
One of the assumptions most often made about our neighbors is that there is no income in the household and so our neighbors must not be trying very hard. Actually that is truly inaccurate. Between January 1 and March 15th less than 20% of the neighbors seen had no income and sometimes that was a temporary situation.  SNAP benefits (Food stamps) are not included in that total because that is not actual income to be spent on anything other than food. If SNAP had been included as income neighbors who have a verifiable income would represent even more than 80% .
Think about it! Next time you assume that our neighbors in need simply don't have income or work and expect the community to take care of them.... Think again. Most do work, draw Social Security or Disability, receive child support or Veteran's benefits. Many times they are in need because hours have been cut, medical bills are high and unexpected or even a surprise car repair! We all know budgeting for the unexpected is hard regardless.