Last year, Reason 4 Hope threw five block parties, providing a cookout to about 600 people and school supplies to over 200 kids. This year they expanded to seven block parties – including one in Steuben County. Each block party consisted of great food – BBQ pulled pork, grilled hamburgers, fresh fruit and vegetables, chips, games and face painting for kids, as well as free school supplies.
In LaGrange County poverty is at 16 percent (which is at an all time high since records have been kept). There was a need and Reason 4 Hope is doing what they can to meet it.
With the help of 19 sponsors (businesses, organizations and individuals), they were able to provide all the food and basic school supplies in these neighborhoods. They threw parties in Stroh, Topeka, Wolcottville, Howe, Shipshewana, LaGrange and Angola.
In LaGrange County, an estimated 700 adults and kids were served. At two events, before hitting the halfway point, organizers had to leave to go get more school supplies! The event involved a great group of local teenagers. When asked why she got involved, Tayler from LaGrange said, “I love kids and helping people.” Another family that helped out said, “By helping out, we’re showing Christ’s unconditional love for people.”
“It’s ridiculously tiring to throw these block parties on back-to-back weekends and work a full-time job, too,” Holly Nater, one of the co-founders, stated. “But at the end of the evening, it’s worth it to know we met a need and got to help our neighbors.”
Reason 4 Hope began in January 2011 with the idea of simply sharing the love and hope they have found in Christ with others. “We have all experienced hopeless times,” Co-founder Jamelle Godlewski said. “We want to reach out to those that might be there and let them know someone does care and someone does love them. Everyone needs to feel a sense of hope.”
The organization’s motto: “We speak. We write. We serve.” is really starting to take shape as they received a grant to expand and develop their speaking program. They hope to take their presentation, “One Person CAN Make a Difference” into area schools. Although they are faith based, their presentation will be age appropriate and will focus on each how each age group can make a difference in their community, their school, with their peers and in their world.
Anyone who wants to catch up with one of the HOPE girls can find Jamelle on Thursdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the HOPE Café in LaGrange. The café is located in LaGrange Christian Fellowship, across from the courthouse. There you can grab a delicious, simple meal for just a donation (or not) and sit down to talk with friends or make new friends. The organization is also on Facebook – Reason 4 Hope or at www.thereason 4hope.com where they are posting weekly blogs, pictures and events.