Good Neighbors Network started as a grassroots group of neighbors in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. When it was announced that schools would close in March 2020, Yeulanda Degala began collecting snacks from the community for children receiving Free/Reduced lunch. As the pandemic continued, resources were expanded to include more essential items such as shelf-stable foods, hygiene products, diapers/wipes, cleaning supplies, and weather-appropriate clothing. Our initiatives are meant to give our neighbors in need a helping hand during difficult times. We want to FILL THE GAPS so that families with food insecurities don’t have to make the tough choice of purchasing essential items or paying a utility bill. You never really know who is struggling around you and it is a priority of ours to reduce any stigma associated with accessing our services.
Good Neighbors Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides assistance to under-resourced neighbors. We connect helpers with those in need. We inspire and empower all community members to participate in initiatives to help local families. There are so many benefits of giving back to the community, but volunteering at Good Neighbors Network means that you are helping someone in your backyard. Having a diverse view of what is happening in the community prepares you for college, and work-life and IT JUST FEELS SO GOOD! We are a volunteer organization, therefore there are many opportunities to get involved that range from packing boxes to planning fundraisers. We just hosted our first fundraising event, “Cheers for Charity: A Beer Tasting Fundraiser” at The Empty Corner. “Cheers for Charity” is the first in a series, so stay tuned for future events. We also accept donations daily, and many folks have found fun and creative ways to collect them in their own neighborhoods. We encourage community members to become monthly donors as we expand our services to raise critical funds for operation.
Last year, we presented a proposal to School District 25 to offer critical items to students in need. Studies have shown that when students' fundamental necessities are met, they become more involved and engaged learners. Through our "Neighbors Care" initiative, we distributed these items to all nine SD25 schools and have now extended the program to include shelf-stable food items in CCSD21 and SD214. This collaboration enables students to obtain essential items such as hygiene products and daily snacks, as well as shelf-stable food that can be consumed at home, from a designated area of their school. By making these products readily accessible and eliminating the stigma associated with accessing them, we are working to alleviate food insecurity for these children. In anticipation of spring break, we supplied 50 bags of shelf-stable food and snacks.
I am extremely proud of the work that Good Neighbors Network has done in this community. We have fed people, prepared students with supplies they need to feel prepared for school, kept them warm, sent a few off to college, made the holidays happen for so many, and just last week we delivered a bed to a teen that was previously sleeping on the floor. I am proud and humbled that this community keeps showing up to help others. There are so many stories, laughs, and tears that have got us to where we are. There has never been a day that I’ve complained about doing this work. I feel extremely lucky that I get to do this every day.
In a world where daily news can be complex and divisive, our nimble non-profit organization offers an opportunity to embody our best selves, demonstrate love as an action, and connect with a community of individuals dedicated to positivity, service, unity, and love for our neighbors. Our village seal is the Community of Good Neighbors and we like to fully embrace that value at GNN. We are grateful to the many neighbors in our Scarsdale community who continue to join us and support us. We are big tent thinkers and all are welcome to join us while we spread good vibes, have some fun, and live as the city of good neighbors! Visit www.goodneighborsnetwork.org or email email@example.com for more information! We are on Facebook and Instagram too, follow us @goodneighborsnetwork. I am always up to chat!