New Community launched Make Cleveland Better in 2015, after learning of some alarming statistics, such as the percentage of the city's poverty and homeless levels. This annual community outreach campaign provides service and support to Northeast Ohioans who are experiencing hardship and are in at-risk situations. Support includes, giving monetary gifts to organizations that address these needs and providing service through countless hours of volunteer work at food pantries, shelters and other non-profits that are understaffed or run primarily by volunteers.
During this year's initiative volunteers spent time at the Malachi House, one of many non-profit organizations we partnered with to complete service projects. The Malachi House was built in 1980 and is the only home in Ohio that provides housing and care at no cost, to men and women with terminal illnesses that have no one to care for them, have dire financial needs and cannot provide for themselves. Even though the organization is Christian, they accept guests of all nationalities and religious preferences. They do not force anyone into Christianity, but as you travel around the facility it is clear that God is present.
During the food drive portion of Make Cleveland Better, we donated thousands of canned and boxed foods to The Malachi House and in January our volunteers went back to sort and label items to make it easier to store and use. Walking around the facility, meeting some of the staff members and volunteers was a very humbling experience for our volunteers who also met guests that they knew would eventually die. One of our volunteers expressed, "it wasn't what I expected, but it was more than I hoped for." She also told us the reason she decided to volunteer at The Malachi House was so she could give back to those at the end of their life because they need care as well. She said, "it's important to meet the needs of those who provide the needs." Another one of our volunteers expressed that the time she spent volunteering was "rewarding".
This is what Making Cleveland Better looks like. This is what God has called us to do as Christians. We are here to touch lives and many of those lives are outside of the church. Together We Make Cleveland Better.