Imagine that you moved into a brand-new neighborhood, you get yourself settled in your new home, and continue to go about your usual business at work. One morning you wake up and you realize that you don’t know your neighbors at all. How would you go about getting to know them? At CEF Chicago we have had to ask ourselves the same question. In 2014 we purchased The Housing Urban Ministry Building, or The HUB for short. It has been a little more than 6 years and unfortunately, we don’t know our neighbors as well as we would like to. In November 2020 we started working toward building relationships with people in the Maywood community by giving away 88 turkeys to families in need. It went so well that we decided to do it again in December. This time we were able to give ham and turkey dinners to over 50 families. Thanks to the generosity of the ladies at Windsor Park retirement home and Indian Hill Bible Church we were also able to send each family home with winter hats as well as gifts for their children.
As we were handing out ham and turkey dinners, we also distributed surveys so that we can learn about the needs that children in Maywood have. We asked parents questions such as, “What times work best for events for your child?” and, “Would offering transportation for your child effectively increase their availability to attend events?” We hope that we will be able to meet many of the needs that the children in our community have through our ministry center located at the HUB. So far, we have received very good responses to our outreach effort in Maywood. The first survey has come back in the mail and we are hoping for more.
We can’t stop there though. We need to continue building relationships and getting to know the people in Maywood. That’s why we are making an effort to establish good connections with local churches and other non-profit organizations in the area. We want to come alongside them and show them the opportunities they have to minister to children at local schools, parks, and daycares through Good News Clubs and 5-Day Clubs.