Harnessing Passion for Action
Neighborhood Connections to Health plans and discusses sustainability very frequently. How can this be achieved? There is no simple answer, but NCTH is striving to provide opportunities to recruit and support the community in telling their own stories, helping to make decisions, and leading the change in their own backyard.
One member of the Freehold community, who had not previously connected with NCTH, began volunteering for meal deliveries, coordinated by NCTH in April 2020. Below are Nancylee Krosner’s words about her motivation to help and the beginning of her work with NCTH:
“As our governor announced the stay at home order, I thought of all of the people in our community who struggle to take care of themselves and their children under ordinary circumstances and wondered how they could possibly manage under what lay ahead of us all. I knew many didn’t have financial resources and/or family close by that were able to help them during this time of such great need for whatever reason. And we all know there a million different reasons people struggle. I don’t care why. Let someone else figure that out. I just want to help. I have been very fortunate in my life and remember the difficulties my parents had keeping a roof over our head and food on the table. I am grateful I don’t have to struggle in the same way and believe “to whom much is given, much will be required.” So I looked for a way to give to those who were struggling.
The food delivery program was perfect for me! Some of the folks just needed the food and didn’t want any social interaction. A couple others to wanted to chat for a minutes and “connect” with another human. I smile when I think of my first day’s delivery to a woman who describes herself as a Howard Hughes type who then “reported me” for touching her mail. (The mailman startled me by coming up behind me as I was delivering meals and that pushed the mail into my hands.) I must admit, at first I was a little indignant about being “reported” but reminded myself of who, what, and why I was serving. This same lady created a handmade “Thank you” note to me with a poem she wrote when the meals program came to an end. We have spoken a couple of times since then, and I am grateful for the opportunities I had to brighten someone’s day.
I believe this program has had a very positive impact not simply on the people who receive food but also those who witnessed needs of their neighbors being addressed (I’m a friendly person and interacted with the immediate neighbors of my peep when I delivered food.) and of course to those who like me – delivered food.”
As a result of this volunteer opportunity, Nancylee learned about the Freehold Intergenerational Community Council (FICC) and decided to apply in June 2020. Nancylee was chosen as one of six members of the FICC Selection Committee in August and spent 7 weeks participating with other applicants in the final selection process. During this time, the community made all the decisions. NCTH helped facilitate the conversations, but the vision of sustainable, community driven efforts are coming to life. NCTH is truly thankful for community leaders like Nancylee, who is looking to lend a hand, learn from others and be part of a solution leading to a healthier and more connected community. NCTH is excited to embark on the next phase of the FICC journey with Nancylee and the rest of the council members.
About the Grantee
Neighborhood Connections to Health (NCTH) is a community non-profit organization, which began as a portion of the work of the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA). NCTH was formed in 2016 and currently works under 4 priority areas: Intergenerational Physical Activity, Bikeability/Walkability, Lead Prevention and Access to Healthy Foods.