How to Reach Your Community

By Robert Berry

At the age of seven, I remember asking my father, “Why are you so willing to help people?” After hearing his story, I wanted to share it with you. My dad grew up in a single-parent home with eight siblings and many other siblings from outside the home. I don’t have to tell you about the last statement; I’m sure you figured it out. My father’s neighbor, Mr. Garrett, noticed him and his brother Moose. After pondering for weeks, he finally dared to ask my grandmother, Bernice, if they could work for him at the grocery store? With them working for him, she could continually come to the store and get meat, milk, orange juice, tissue, toothpaste, and whatever she needed. Of course, my grandmother said yes with all smiles. I remember my father telling me that when my grandmother went to the store for the first time, she was modest and placed items in the basket that was not expensive. Mr. Garrett noticed the things in her basket and took them all out. Then, he said, “Bernice, let me show you how to shop!” Mr. Smith started putting fresh packaged meats and many other items in her basket. By the time he was finished, my grandmother was standing there with two baskets full and tears of joy rolling down her face. 

In sharing this story, I ask, “How will you reach your community?” While you may not have a grocery store, I wanted to share some tips on how you can reach your community.

  1. Heart Check – What’s in your heart? Who or what do you think about when you’re riding in the car, having a conversation with friends, or when you see your neighbor(s)?
  2. Voice – Write an encouraging note or have a conversation with whoever is on your heart. Be it your neighbor, Homeowners Association, City Councilman, School PTO, Hospital, Nursing Home, or Nonprofit Organization. Let them know you would like to help and allow them to share how you can help.
  3. Time – After hearing how you can help, look at your schedule and make adjustments. Be it 30 minutes or 1 hour, create a plan that will help you be consistent in giving your time.
  4. Hands – Your hands can make the load lite and make it more joyful because people see that they are not alone. Share with those who have the same heart as you do. Let them know how you are coming alongside your neighbor or the organization you are helping. Whether you use your hands in giving financially or physical labor, teamwork makes the dream work.

I ask you again, “How will you reach your community?” Don’t ignore your heart; respond from your heart. Use your voice, time, and hands. Mr. Garrett’s response transformed the lives of my grandmother, aunts, uncles, and father. What’s been most impactful is that I never met Mr. Garrett, and I’m sharing what he did 66 years ago. As you reach your community, you have every possibility to help transform your community today and for generations to come.

September 13, 2022