Neighbors help neighbors navigate life challenging moments

Published 7:26 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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Individuals and communities experience challenging moments, when life gets tough, and circumstances seem almost too difficult to bear alone.

In those moments, when people can feel afraid and alone, neighbors step up to help, offering tangible and emotional support in the most critical moments.

Recent Facebook posts in Greenville illuminated one-way communities stand together to help their neighbors.

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When word spread that an area resident had experienced emotional trauma, Greenville citizens flooded social media with words of encouragement, reassurance of prayers, and one simple, unified message — “I am here. You can talk to me.”

Sometimes, people forget what neighborhood and community mean. They go months without walking across the yard or picking up the phone to say hello. Some struggle, alone, grappling with what feels like an insurmountable problem.

But many can accomplish what individuals cannot. When a crisis strikes, many are reminded they have neighbors who care.

On Jan. 23, the Crenshaw County Sheriff’s Office issued a missing person alert on social media, requesting help to locate a young man suffering from mental health concerns.

Almost immediately, area residents began calling the department. Social media comments flooded in too, reporting sightings and information regarding the young man’s habits and whereabouts.

Investigators received so many reports that investigator Chris Stewart barely had time to eat dinner. By the next morning, the young man had been located and counted safe.

Individuals help neighbors, and so do communities.

Selma communities sustained damage on Jan. 12 when tornadoes touched down and left downed trees, destruction, and widespread power outages in their wake.

Neighboring churches, schools, and individuals from Lowndes County mobilized the following day to serve hot, home cooked meals, remove debris, and offer emotional support to their storm-ravaged neighbors.

And government officials stepped up to help too.

In a Jan. 23 Lowndes County Commission meeting, Chairman Charlie King, Jr. requested County Attorney Prince Chestnutt provide guidance on how the commission might legally extend aid to their neighbors.

“Find out if we can [aid them] legally,” King said. “We’ll come up with the amount. There are people all around donating water and food. This is our neighboring county. We need to step up to the plate and give something.” 

When my house burned down in 1994, the Lapine community rallied to help our family. We escaped the fire in our pajamas, taking only the clothes on our backs.

My neighbor, Oleta Owens, offered her own shoes for my feet. Other neighbors brought us bags of clothing. Petrey Wholesale sent a box of necessities. 

Our neighbors loved and helped us. It’s what they always do. 

Neighbors step up to the plate. They care, they search, and they give to their neighbors during times of trial and need.

It warms the heart and goes a long way toward cultivating unity in neighborhoods close to home and over in the next county.