The holiday season is upon us, and although it is often a time of great joy, for some, it can be a season of great financial strain. Higher expenses can sometimes leave families trying to decide what things they can do without in order to afford basic necessities.
Thankfully, the Dayton community can count on their neighbors at Good Neighbor House. GNH believes that oftentimes, the people who work the hardest are also the most overlooked in terms of unmet needs. They understand that unexpected events can lead to financial stress for a hardworking family, and that even the best-laid plans can fall apart.
Dayton Parent spoke with Marcia Ehlers, assistant director of human services and outreach, to learn more about GNH and how they extend a helping hand to the community throughout the entire year.
How did you become involved with GNH, and how have you seen GNH help our community?
My mother was one of the founding ladies of GNH after spending 10 years as a missionary nurse in Brazil. She worked tirelessly to help our neighbors and was a volunteer up to a few weeks before she passed away at the age of 94.
For me personally, a huge bonus is when I meet someone dropping off a donation and they say, “I remember when I had nothing and I came here for help. I have been waiting for the day I could give back.” And that’s what our mission is all about — enabling community members to give back after they themselves have become healthier, or more financially or emotionally stable.
What services does GNH provide?
Thrift Store: Open to the public, with affordable clothing and household items for purchase using cash, credit card or GNH Bucks.
Food Pantry: Food provided every 30 days to families in need of grocery assistance.
Special Dietary Needs Pantry: Special groceries for clients with diabetes, hypertension or renal disease.
Dental and Medical Clinics: Affordable dental and medical care. Insurance is accepted and self-pay patients are offered a sliding-scale discount based on income and family size.
Eye Clinic: Basic visits are free and everyone gets a voucher for free prescription eyeglasses.
Counseling Services: Free counseling
What are GNH Bucks?
When we realized that some clients just could not afford to buy much in the thrift store, we introduced GNH Bucks. Clients can take a free, hour-long wellness class to earn a $20 voucher for clothing. Classes are offered two to three times a day (except Fridays), and we also offer classes twice a month to earn a $20 voucher for household items. The classes cover topics such as cooking, exercise, painting and crafts, and there is no limit to the number of classes a client can take.
Do you have programs to help ease holiday-related burdens?
We have a program called Operation Christmas Wish to help GNH client families with Christmas gifts. From November 5 through December 7, we will collect new, unwrapped toys for children ages 1 to 12. Donors can sign up to “adopt” a family and purchase toys or basic household necessities to gift to a family in need.
Good Neighbor House needs your help!
Volunteers are desperately needed, and so are your generous donations!
If you are interested in sharing your knowledge by teaching a wellness class, please contact Marcia Raglin at (937) 224-3003, extension 102.
To adopt a family for Christmas or for additional information on volunteer and donation opportunities, contact Marcia Ehlers at (937) 224-3003, extension 108. You can also learn more at www.goodneighborhouse.org