UCC ‘Love of Neighbor’ Initiative Spurs Month of Service for North Carolina Senior Community

Some of the 100 pounds of food donated to the local food pantry by Carolina SeniorCare.

Nothing says love like hundreds of pounds of food! Staff and participants at the United Church Homes and Service’s Carolina SeniorCare PACE Community in Lexington, N.C., discovered that over a two-week stretch in early November when they collected and then delivered 200 pounds of food to an area animal shelter and 100 pounds of food to a local food bank.

The motivation? The UCC’s 3 Great Loves initiative, launched this past summer during its biennial General Synod. The initiative is one way the denomination is trying to fulfill its vision of creating a just world for all as expressed through Love of Neighbor, Love of Children, and Love of Creation. Phase I, “Love of Neighbor,” is currently underway.

“3 Great Loves is a wonderful program, and aligns with our work at United Church Homes and Services,” says Joy Cline, chief marketing officer. “It is actually one of our organization’s overarching goals.”

Each United Church Homes and Services community was “challenged to come up with a program for Love of Neighbor that creates a partnership within the community and fits a need in their specific areas,” Cline says. In response, Carolina SeniorCare PACE stepped up with a month-long series of activities in November.

“Each week, they are doing something different, and each shows love of neighbor and builds on a bible verse that is supplied by their chaplain,” adds Cline. The chaplain chose verses from The Beatitudes as the inspiration for the Love of Neighbor activities.

The local animal shelter received 200 pounds of pet food.

Week two, based on “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied,” created the food drive that benefited the local Davidson County food pantry and animal shelter. The drive ran for two weeks and was publicized throughout the community by staff, participants and their families.

While the food drive was underway, Carolina SeniorCare also delivered “angels of comfort” figurines to patients at the Hospice of Davidson County as part of Week 1’s emphasis, “Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

During Thanksgiving week, staff and participants provided scarves, hats, socks and gloves to a homeless shelter in Lexington, N.C., as part of “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

The last week of November has been dedicated to providing food and prayer cards for emergency response teams — the First Responders — in Lexington, as a response to “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”

Throughout the month, both givers and recipients gained much through the Love of Neighbor acts. Cline says that team members and participants at Carolina SeniorCare are even more acutely aware of the need to work together. Says Cline, “Regardless of where we are in life, regardless of how much or how little we have, this quote runs true: ‘To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with.’

“Our team members and participants at Carolina SeniorCare understand the need in working together to address inequities in our world, and they are always ready and willing to do their part.”

Carolina SeniorCare is a non-profit provider of PACE service and part of the United Church Homes and Services (UCHS) family of communities. PACE (Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) is a Medicare and Medicaid program that helps people meet their health care needs in the community instead of going to a nursing home or other care facility. United Church Homes and Services, a CHHSM-member ministry, is recognized as an industry leader among not-for-profit senior living communities, with 11 locations serving more than 2,000 older adults in North Carolina and Virginia.

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