Do you know your neighbor?

Take a step outside. Look around. Do you recognize the people living their lives next to you, across the street from you? Do you know their names? Do you ever ask how they’re doing with the intention of stopping and listening to the actual answer?

I certainly can’t answer yes to each of these questions. But working with It Takes a Village, Baby has opened my eyes to the fact that anyone could be struggling. Sure, they may have a roof over their head, but what’s inside? Maybe their home is full of beautiful things and a stocked refrigerator. Or maybe tonight’s choice was between dinner for everyone or affording heat in this cold winter. Maybe when you see them pulling up in their car, they just had to choose between filling their gas tank to get to work each day and buying shoes for the kid’s growing feet.

We live in a culture full of edited posts on social media, where anyone and everyone can post pictures and statuses about the good things going on, which means we may never see the real truth. ITAVB has delivered donated baby items to people living in a homeless shelter, and people living in a beautiful townhome loaned to them. It’s easy to assume those living in a homeless shelter have nothing, but the family in the townhouse… Would you have realized they can’t afford diapers for their two young children?

So, here’s a challenge for you. Take the time to get to know the people around you and show them you genuinely care. It really does take a village in this world, and sometimes that extra minute can open windows into a life of struggle you wouldn’t have known ever existed.

- Emily

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