Written by Rebecca Sitzes | Shelby Star
Many years ago, Englishman John Donne poetically wrote that “no man is an island, entire of itself” and this truth has become a driving force in my own life as well as in others.
As we navigate life and all the struggles and triumphs it brings, sometimes we need to reach up from our lowest points and accept a helping hand. Other times, we have the privilege of reaching down in the darkness and offer that helping hand. A community coming together to support each other has the power to transform lives in ways both minuscule and magnificent.
Recently, a trio of us created Helping Hands Cleveland County. It’s in the beginning stages but we envision this grassroots effort as a way to be better neighbors to one another. It is all about connecting people, meeting needs and building a stronger community in Cleveland County. The goal is to unite neighbors and inspire each one of us to use our passions, skills, interests and experiences to lift each other up and extend a helping hand to anyone in need. We give and we take and in the midst of it, we change.
Over the past couple of months, we kicked off our first project - Little Community Pantries - designed to combat hunger in the community.
We took old metal newspaper boxes, which were recently phased out from businesses and stores around the county and turned them into a free canned food pantry. These Little Community Pantries operate on the simple premise of take what you need, give what you can.
Local children eagerly participated in the project, and students from Marion Elementary and Pinnacle Classical Academy spent a hot afternoon painting bright pictures and words on the boxes, turning them into beautiful works of art.
The day before Thanksgiving we set the Little Community Pantries out around Cleveland County. There are six in all.
One is sitting outside KIND Coffee in Boiling Springs. Another is at Holly Oak Park. Three are located along Lafayette Street, with one at the back parking lot of Hope Community Church, another between the car wash and laundromat, and the third near the office of Parkside Villas apartments. The sixth pantry is at the back of the county administration building on Marion Street. We stocked them with canned food and are hoping the community will see this as an investment in each one of our futures. County employees have offered to take on the pantry near the administration building and will keep it stocked. If you see one and feel led to contribute, we hope you will leave a donation. If you want more information, visit the Facebook page, Helping Hands Cleveland County or send us an email at Helpinghandsclevelandcounty@gmail.com.
We are planning litter sweeps and other activities in the near future and if you have an idea for a project, or know someone in need, we welcome you to reach out to us. We also want to work together with other groups and unite all of us so we can all work together and join forces to bring about the most benefit. If you know of a group doing good things in the county, tell us about them.
We can’t eliminate all suffering, but maybe we can alleviate it and if we meet just one person’s needs or change just one life, we have met our goal.
Reporter Rebecca Sitzes can be reached at 704-669-3339 or firstname.lastname@example.org.