Question for My Fellow Burbs-Dwellers

There’s a question {and also an observation} that comes up frequently in my circle of friends, in small church groups, etc.  We live in a moderately affluent suburb a few miles from the state’s largest city.  However, it’s Kansas, so don’t go all ultra-urban when picturing it in your mind.  The question that often pops up {as it did in my women’s small group last night} is “What are the needs in your community?”

Crickets…we all know there are surely needs, but in a comfy community like ours we are not confronted with them 24/7.  If the needs are material in nature, the sufferers don’t often frequent the same places “we” do.  Maybe the discount or grocery store or the public library…but we are moving at hyper-speed with hyper-focus in our own little worlds and it’s easy to miss them.  The suburbs are not famous for our homeless shelters, soup kitchens, etc. Even still, we know the need is there but we don’t have the first clue how to meet them, or what ministries or programs might already be in place which we can support.

Definitely there are non-material needs but these, too, are hidden.  They remain invisible because those who suffer have become so excellent at hiding them.  Or maybe they involve lifestyle choices that we don’t like to talk about.  For the purposes of this post I am talking specifically about material needs.

Don’t get me wrong.  People I know volunteer, they give generously to causes & missions, but we don’t see a lot of it happening right here in our community – more so in the larger “metropolitan” community we are a part of.  We do have a Communities in Schools program, but many people don’t really know what they do.  A local church has a thrift shop and food pantry.  The community is good about participating in:  Back-to-School – which provides backpacks full of school supplies for needy children; Operation Holiday – but that really only addresses 1-2 months out of the year.   We have a Senior Center – but really I think most of the volunteers there are seniors themselves.  I’m sure there may be other things going on, but they don’t come immediately to mind.

Our conclusion from our small group discussion last night was this.  We live in a “comfortable” community, but there ARE needs.  We just need to work harder to identify and meet them.

SO, my question to you is this {if you, too, live in suburbs}…

How have people in your community identified and met the needs right in your own back yard?

I really would like to know, so please feel free to share in the comments below, share a link to a program or mission site if you like.  I am excited about what we can learn from each other!

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