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Challenge Logs 5,579 Acts of Neighboring in Missouri; Greene County Wins
Missouri Ag Connection - 10/07/2021

At the end of Good Neighbor Week in Missouri, organizers documented 5,579 acts of neighboring submitted by nearly 100 groups and individuals.

In Greene County, where a 1,000 Acts of Neighboring Challenge was held, county residents documented 2,281 acts of neighboring, says David Burton, a county engagement specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

"We more than doubled our goal for acts of neighboring," said Burton. "Some individuals and groups went all-in on this idea of neighboring and helped us exceed our goals."

Winners of the statewide "Top Neighbor" community awards:

Best of Missouri Award -- D&L Florist (Houston) distributed 2,850 individual roses to neighbors in and around Houston in celebration of National Good Neighbor Day.

Rural Missouri Award -- Milton and Judith Moore (Agency) prepared 13 quarts of homemade hot cocoa mix. They distributed the quarts to their nearest neighbors with instructions and a note celebrating National Good Neighbor Day.

Urban Missouri Award -- Elaine Montgomery (Springfield) organized a "Socialize & Safe Disposal" event in north Springfield with donuts, coffee and lemonade for the 95 who attended. Neighbors could bring documents like old bank statements and outdated confidential paperwork for professional shredding.

Diversity Award -- Josy Mendoza (Springfield) made and delivered Hispanic food to neighbors.

Winners of the Greene County "Top Neighbor" community awards:

Ash Grove -- Diana Simpson provided materials to four of her neighbors to assemble emergency first aid kits for the home.

Willard -- Kala Sheppard provided sugar cookies and an encouraging note to four of her neighbors on National Good Neighbor Day.

Strafford -- The Fellows Lake Neighborhood hosted a potluck picnic Saturday, Oct 2, for neighbors to get to know one another. One of the event's goals was to begin a neighborhood watch, according to organizer Norma Tolbert.

Greene County -- The neighbors of Buck Van Hooser in Ash Grove: David Hawkins, Joe and Mary Hawkins, Mike and Dena Coale, and Travis Underwood for yard and field work performed for a neighbor who was recovering from cancer.

Republic -- Linda Dunn and her husband purchased 10 bags of flavored popcorn, made cards to attach and delivered them to the 10 closest neighboring homes, including three who were new to the neighborhood. This is the third year they have participated in National Good Neighbor Day.

Republic -- The neighbors of Kate Evert: Brad and Angie Harnish. Her neighbors are avid gardeners who weeded and mowed her garden while she was away from home.

Springfield -- L. Scranton and neighbor J. Pendergrass mow the yards of six elderly neighbors free of charge all year to keep their corner of the world tidy.

Springfield -- Candy Smith and the Westside Neighborhood Betterment Association created information packets about the association with $5 gift cards to the College Street Dairy Queen to 100 homes on National Good Neighbor Day. They delivered the packets to people who were new to the neighborhood or had improved their homes and yards. Other participants included Sandi Huston, Sharon Brooks, Joe Roberds, Zach Smith, Lydia Austin, Peri Redfearn and Carolynn Sauerbrei.

Springfield -- Residents of Kingsbury Forest neighborhood held an ice cream social that featured music by local band Geezer. It was their first gathering since the pandemic began, and nearly 70 residents attended. "We plan to make this an annual event and will promote it to our neighbors next September so they can be planning Good Neighbor projects," wrote Leslie Carrier, Kingsbury Forest Homeowners Association.

No eligible entries from Walnut Grove, Battlefield, Bois D'Arc, Rogersville or Fair Grove were received. Winning individuals will be contacted over the next few weeks so checks can be sent.

Individuals who submitted neighboring acts were included in a drawing for gift cards and other prizes to recognize the time they took to submit the information. Those awards will be mailed out in the next two weeks.

"This will be an annual effort, but next year's good neighbor week will look different," said Burton. "I do think we will put more effort into helping groups or businesses do customer and community events that can reach more people statewide."

Sponsors: Greene County MU Extension Council, Greene County Commission, Community Foundation of the Ozarks, Springfield-Greene County Library, KY3, KOLR-TV10, Springfield News-Leader, Greene County Commonwealth and Unite News. Several businesses and organizations sponsored a local community prize: Air Services and All Services, Investment Realty, Dan Waisner State Farm Agency, Greene County Farm Bureau, Apple Market of Willard and the Greene County MU Extension Council.

There are ongoing opportunities to learn more about neighbor initiatives to improve your quality of life and positively impact your community.

"Neighboring 101" is a free monthly online class. Upcoming guests include Chris McKinney, author of "Placed for a Purpose," Michael Mather, author of "Having Nothing, Possessing Everything," and Becky McCray, nationally known creator of "The Idea Friendly Method." Register online at http://muext.us/Neighboring101(opens in new window).

"Becoming an Engaged Neighbor," a six-session hybrid class with online weekly online discussion groups, begins Oct. 11. Cost is $20 per person. Register online at http://muext.us/BecomingAnEngagedNeighbor(opens in new window).

Neighboring is the art and skill of building relationships with the people who live closest to you. Being a good neighbor offers tremendous health benefits, leads to reductions in crime, decreases loneliness, enhances communities and improves your quality of life.

To learn more about our Engaged Neighbor program or the impact of neighboring, go to extension.missouri.edu, or contact David Burton at burtond@missouri.edu(opens in new window) or 417-881-8909. "Becoming an Engaged Neighbor" can also be found on Facebook at http://facebook.com/BecominganEngagedNeighbor(opens in new window).


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