500 Neighbors

Let’s Share a Story

I made a meal and cookies for my co-worker that is on hospital bed rest at 25 weeks with her 4th child. She has a husband and 3 young boys at home. I also got her a coffee gift card she could use at the hospital.
My husband saw a need for an old neighbor who had fallen on hard times and couldn’t provide for her kids, especially at Christmas. Many people came together to give necessities and so much more. I watched him load the gifts into the back of her car as she cried tears of speechless gratefulness. I am so proud of my husband and his amazing, giving heart.
I gave our server a 40% tip.
While delivering Christmas treats I spent time visiting with and enjoying my neighbors' company.
At the Meijer self checkout, I encouraged a young mom whose kids were having tantrums.
While we were waiting in the ER waiting room, I prayed with an elderly woman who was alone.
Brought a care package to a family sick with the flu on Christmas Day.
My husband and I have decided to pay it forward to members of the Zeeland/Holland community by doing random acts of giving, after being a guest at community for the Christmas program. We went around grocery stores handing out monetary gifts to random families saying the Lord has blessed them. I think we got more out of giving that they did receiving.
We delivered hams to 3 families we didn't know, on Christmas Eve. Hugged and cried with one of the woman who explained that she's been depressed after a long recovery from back surgery. She needed that more than the ham.
My teenage son gave his normal waitress a 225% tip right before Christmas.
I’m trying to figure out where my secret admirer is but to no avail. I have cancer and I’m wearing a wig right now. Someone put an adorable winter hat in my church box from JB and Me to wear during cold winter months. It is certainly appreciated! Thank you so much!!
The other day walking my dog I saw a young man coming out of a pizza parlor with a license plate that said Iraq Vet. All I did was say thank you for your service. He said "you’re welcome" with a huge smile on his face.
I hugged my student employee and "big" tears began rolling down her cheeks. She asked if we could talk and shared how being at college she doesn't openly grieve the loss of 2 brothers to a house fire a few years ago. The talk and tears led me to ask if she holds onto faith - she said she lost faith when she last walked out of the hospital that day. I've assured her Jesus is walking with her and available 24/7 365 days a year. She smiles a lot now and we talk intentionally
I was at Family fare and there was a lady there with a child who was blind. The lady was explaining to the child,who was about 12 years old, what was on the shelves. I asked the lady where they were from; she said she was from Zeeland schools and was helping a student. I was so impressed with what she was doing, I gave her $10. and said take her out for lunch. When I got to the cash register and checked out the cashier said I had won a $10 gift certificate.
Had to take my car in for oil change so went to Rykes Bakery and picked up sweet rolls for all the workers at Heights Service.
"I stopped on highway 30 on Maui to give a couple of free spirited guys a jump start. This isn’t something I normally do on vacation but I felt responsible because this location was out of cell service. After these guys got their truck started I thought “I’m going to count this as 1 of 500”. I thought Maui was heaven until I saw those guys need a jump. If batteries didn’t die there it would be perfect :)
I brought a friend her favorite coffee who has had sick kids all week.
We donated a coat into the orange bucket and put some money in one of the pockets. Hope someone has fun with that find.
In September when the list of homebound members was published in the bulletin I felt led to send personal notes to all of them. Then with Christmas near I felt I should send cards with another personal note. Each message included an assurance that each person would be remembered in our prayers.
Three of the men in our congregation helped Solid rock Ministries build a handicap ramp for a lady that probably wouldn’t have been able to get into her house for Christmas without it. What a joy to bless others.
My daughter and I drove by a man holding a sign. She asked what he was doing. I told her his sign was either asking for money/food. That’s when she said we should give him our left over food we had with us. I said I didn’t want to turn around, we could go back after we went to Target then give it to him. That’s when my soft spoken daughter YELLED at me“No Mom!Turn around right now! We have to give him our food!” I obliged. We drove over and she got out and gave him our food.
Saw one of the former pastors of our church at Red Robin. Paid for his meal and thanked him for the decades long impact he's had on our community.
Offered to help an elderly woman carry something heavy to her car from the store.
Our neighborhood adopted a family to bless this Christmas.
We invited our neighbors with young kids over for dinner.
I bought gift cards at Chick Fil A and gave to a family who was sharing their dinner with another young man. I explained our church was encouraging us to notice and love others. Mom commented this would really make a difference and also was a great example to her children.
My wife and I entered the bottle return area at Meijers. A woman at the first station there was leaning over a cart full of returnables. While I was wondering about this, my wife approached the woman asking if anything was wrong. This woman said that she was having a lot of back pain feeding her bottles into the machine. My wife promptly finished the task for her and handed her the receipt.
I helped an elderly woman find something at Aldi!
This is not very big, but gave a cart from Aldi without collecting a quarter from the person.
I brought soup to my neighbor who has been going to Butterworth Hospital every day for the last 3 months to visit her husband who had a double lung transplant.
I drive one of the biggest trucks on the road around here and came up on some cars on both side of a county road, cows are loose. The farmer had a trailer and was trying to get them in, so I parked my truck next to the trailer so I could help get them back in. By the time we got them in, there were at least 12 of us wrangling them in. Didn't talk to anyone just said bye and left. It was fun to see how fast people learned how to help.
Our Vitales delivery driver forgot part of our order. Instead of being upset I gave him an extra tip upon his return.
As we finished church today, our 7 year old said, "I think I will find someone at lunch tomorrow that isn't sitting with anyone and talk to them."
This past fall the women of Joyful Hearts Bible Study had a winter-wear project that brought new and slightly used coats, boots, and gloves to New Groningen School as well as non-perishable foods for those children who lacked such necessities.
I made fleece blankets for children who were abused.
Someone I used to work with recently went to jail. I’m working on finding him housing when he gets out and arranging to visit him.
I fixed a plumbing issue on a neighbor's hot water heater so she would not need to call a plumber.
I knitted a shawl for a dear friend of our family who recently moved into a nursing home.
My son and I were bike riding Sunday afternoon and saw a car with a flat tire. It was a single mother who was trying to contact someone to help her to no avail. We changed her tire for her.
I gave a $5 tip for a $5 meal to a waiter who was all alone. He took us to our table, took orders, cleaned tables, waited on other customers, all with a smile. I told him he was doing a great job.
I saw a person I knew at Sam's Club while waiting to have a quick lunch. They wanted to sit and talk with me; I was able to be a friend on a day they felt alone.
I was in line to have one of our vehicles washed. I had two passes left and told the worker to give the last one to the person behind me.
I sent a card to an older friend who moved into an assisted living home to let her know I was thinking of her and praying for her.
I gave a donation to the Kroll family to help with funeral expenses for their son.
God placed a friend I had not talked to since January on my heart so I texted and told him so. I was then able to pray with him as he was going through some hard times.
We left bags of snacks on the front porch for delivery drivers in this season of long hours.
I wrote a few letters of encouragement to friends telling them how much they have meant to me over the years.
I sent a card of encouragement to my small BSF group leader.
I baked with a former co worker of mine teaching her how to make cinnamon rolls so she could have a fund raiser for her future trip to Israel. So far we have made over 120 dozen!
I brought lunch to work for my boss.
I removed 6 stumps from my neighbor's yard while I had the equipment at my house. He won't have to worry about hitting them and ruining his mower anymore!
I gave my neighbors a helping hand with their yard work.
Donating plasma the woman I sat down next to had some issues and donation took twice as long as expected. I made comment on the fact that she was blessed because she was still able to complete the donation without any other complications. The staff member attending her made a comment on how that was so true and such a positive a way of thinking.
I gave my mother a hug. I may have hugged her for a long time; our relationship has been strained over many years, especially over the past year.
I brought baked goods to a family who recently had a baby.
I brought canned milk, homemade banana bread and peach cobbler to a home bound friend.
I baked Christmas cookies and brought a plate to a gentleman who was asking for food or money in Holland on the street corner.
I was able to share hot chocolate with Hamilton staff members, Hope college students and staff, church members, my neighbors, Hamilton Science Olympiad students, and service personnel.
I raked my neighbor's yard.
I watched a cold homeless man stand with a sign, without warm clothing. I gave him heavy long socks, gloves, and money to buy a warm meal. When I talked with him, he mentioned that be was disabled after the hard physical work of sandblasting bridges for more than 30 years. He shared that he has two daughters, age 24 and 26 in Baltimore and a new grandchild. As I started to leave, I said "God bless you" and he replied, "God bless you too" He was appreciative of kindness and enjoyed our short chat.
I paid for a woman's meal at a restaurant when she seemed to be overwhelmed by her three kids who weren't having a good day.
At Subway, I noticed a couple who you could tell loved each other very much. They were selfless in their actions towards each other. It also appeared as if this couple was battling something. They wore clothes that were a little dirty, something that in our culture would get talked about negatively: all assumptions. This is what led me away from talking to them. Instead, I bought a $10 gift card and wrote God Bless, and I left it for them.
A girl at my work was sitting with me and talking to me, and she was telling me how she is really hurting for money and couldn’t even afford food. All she had been eating the past month is bread and butter. So I gave her money to buy anything she wanted for dinner this evening. She cried and told me, thank you, a million times. I told her this is just a stage in life that is hard, but in the end, He will do amazing things for you. All we need to do is pray for her hard times
We have a large 'common' area in the backyard that is technically owned by a neighbor who doesn't have children. However, the neighborhood kids play there. So on a Saturday afternoon, before the early snow came, the kids decided to help out and rake the leaves that were in the neighbor's lawn and get them out to the curb. The snow started within about an hour of them finishing.
A mom was trying to carry two oversize boxes across the parking lot with her toddler daughter, and I offered and helped her carry one into the store for her.
I had the opportunity to share an afternoon with a young man we know from our involvement with Zeeland west equestrian team. He has had a difficult time recovering from a car accident the ended up killing someone. We spent the afternoon chatting, eating dinner out, and going to a movie. He has been starting to make the process in his recovery and establishing life on his own.
I paid for the coffee of the person behind me in the drive-thru at Biggby.
I purchased her devotional book "Blessings" by Laura Story and have passed on encouragement from her words and song to a friend in the hospital who is anticipating surgery this week. "Sometimes, your blessings come through raindrops, sometimes through tears." A real reminder that God is with us in the midst of our trials. I share this story often to encourage others.
Visited a friend of a member of Community who was going to undergo vascular surgery at St.Mary's hospital. Met with him and his wife.
My eye doctor saw me without an appointment and removed a stuck contact for free (again). So I went right to Zeeland Bakery and brought back 2 dozen donuts for him and his staff.
Gave a homeless man on the corner of Division & Wealthy a packet with bottled water, a protein bar and a McDonald's gift card.
I showed interest and kindness to a first-year college student. He said he remembered being in the Campus Ministries house during his first week on campus but hadn’t been back since. He said he really wanted to find a Bible & was hoping we’d have a recommendation for his first one. What a joy it was to gift him with his first Bible. I’m not sure which one of us was more excited. He just held it, looking at it, saying, “really??! This is mine?”

How about Your Story?

How have you been a neighbor this week?