2022 Marks the First Missouri Good Neighbor Week
Have fun connecting with those living around you.
- Published: Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Missouri Good Neighbor Week is Sept. 28 to Oct. 4. All Missourians are encouraged to participate by doing and reporting an act of neighboring and nominating someone as a great example of neighboring.
This is the first year for this statewide effort following Missouri Gov. Mike Parson's signature on legislation establishing the special week.
It begins Sept. 28, National Good Neighbor Day. The statewide goal is to document 10,000 acts of neighboring and to honor a top example of an engaged neighbor in each county of Missouri.
Many counties have local coordinators bringing awareness to the week and helping to judge the top reported acts of neighboring and top neighbor nominations in their respective counties. In many counties, that coordinator is the county extension council.
During Good Neighbor Week, everyone who reports an act of neighboring will be entered into a random drawing for prizes and receive a memento by mail. The best examples are eligible for county prizes and statewide awards.
Find links for reporting your acts of neighboring and nominating the top neighbor in your area at missourigoodneighborweek.com, or use #mogoodneighbors on social media.
WHAT IS AN ACT OF NEIGHBORING?
David Burton, a community development specialist with University of Missouri Extension, encourages residents to use the week as an opportunity to start meeting neighbors they do not already know.
"Developing relationships with our neighbors may provide a solution to our national epidemic of loneliness, isolation and depression," Burton said. "Start by learning and using your neighbors' names if you do not already know them. That might mean you begin with a plate of goodies and an introduction, both of which are nice acts of neighboring."
Neighboring is the art and skill of building relationships with the people who live in the closest proximity to you, he said. Being a good neighbor offers tremendous health benefits, reduces crime, reduces loneliness, improves communities and improves your quality of life.
"Plan and organize a simple neighbor gathering like donuts on the driveway or goodies in the garage," Burton said. "Perhaps use chalk to write inspiring quotes on the sidewalks. Neighboring is a slow process and takes time, but there are many great benefits."
In 1978, President Jimmy Carter announced the creation of a national day to raise public awareness that good neighbors help achieve human understanding and build strong, thriving communities. Since then, National Good Neighbor Day has been celebrated on Sept. 28.
MU Extension has been leading various efforts to celebrate National Good Neighbor Day in Greene County since 2018. Last year, the University of Missouri Extension Council in Greene County hosted a 1,000 Acts of Neighboring Challenge and ended up with more than 5,300 reported acts across the state.
The Missouri General Assembly passed HB1738 establishing Missouri Good Neighbor Week after a year-long effort by State Rep. Bishop Davidson. The governor signed the bill on July 1, 2022.
If you are at a loss for what to do for your neighbors this year, consider the "top neighbor" award winners in Missouri from 2021.
Best of Missouri Award – D&L Florist (Houston) distributed 2,850 individual roses to neighbors in and around Houston celebrating National Good Neighbor Day. Visitors to the shop can pick up a dozen roses for free at D&L Florist (while supplies last). You keep one rose and give the other 11 away to neighbors. Each rose in the dozen now has a tag with the names of the community sponsors who make this significant celebration of good neighbors possible.
Rural Missouri Award – Milton and Judith Moore (Agency, Mo.) 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, Mo.) 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 and secure shredding.
Diversity Award –Josy Mendoza (Springfield) made and delivered Hispanic food to neighbors.
Greene County Award – The neighbors of Buck Van Hooser in Ash Grove — David Hawkins, Joe and Mary Hawkins, Mike and Dena Coale, and Travis Underwood — performed yard and fieldwork for a neighbor while he was recovering from cancer.
Republic Award – 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.
Springfield Award – 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.
Springfield Award – Kingsbury Forest neighborhood residents held an ice cream social featuring the local band Geezer. It was their first gathering since the pandemic began, and nearly 70 residents attended.
Find details about the challenge, ideas of how to neighbor and links for reporting your acts of neighboring and nominating the top neighbor in your area at missourigoodneighborweek.com.
Writer: David Burton
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