President Calvin Coolidge once said, “Christmas is not a time or
season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous
in mercy, is to have the real Christmas spirit.” Busy with our everyday
lives, too often we wait until the holiday season to give back to our
communities and the ones who need us most. But, fortunately for Hand in
Hand of Glynn, the
Southeast Georgia Health System Volunteer Services is embracing the holiday spirit this summer.
A local organization with a mission to end homelessness in Glynn County,
Hand in Hand of Glynn was selected by the Health System’s Volunteer
Services for their Community Outreach Project of 2021. Typically, the
group concludes its outreach project in early December but, as Coolidge
pointed out, Christmas is not a time or season.
“This year, our volunteers decided to hold a ‘Christmas in
July’ service ‘project,” said Kristin Doll, CAVS, director,
Volunteer Services, Southeast Georgia Health System. “After several
months of planning, coordinating and promoting, the project concluded
with a ‘drive-by drop-off’ on July 27th that surpassed all
of our expectations.”
Hand in Hand of Glynn’s vision is to build 60 one-bedroom “tiny
homes” and a community building on a 4.25-acre property that formerly
housed Altama Presbyterian Church on Altama Avenue. Phase one includes
having 16 homes ready for occupancy by November 2021, just in time for
the holidays. The homes will be equipped with everything a resident needs,
including appliances, linens, kitchen basics, cleaning and personal hygiene supplies.
In May, volunteers began selecting items they wished to donate from a list
of needed furnishings and supplies provided by Hand in Hand of Glynn.
Brunswick Campus volunteers Gene Laurendeau and MaryLynne Cochran led
the outreach program.
“As always, our volunteers enthusiastically came together for this
project in such a generous way,” stated Cochran. “We had hoped
to furnish one home, but that goal was met within weeks. We voted unanimously
to take on a second home, and before long, we had surpassed that goal
too and were working on furnishings and supplies for a third. I feel blessed
that we were able to get involved with this most worthy community project
and that our volunteers have been so generous. To know that the residents
will not spend the holiday season on the streets is invaluable to us.”
Laurendeau believes that the homes will significantly impact the community
and change lives. “Many of these individuals, some of whom are military
veterans, have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own,”
he said. “Life isn’t always fair. This program provides a
great foundation for individuals who just need some empathy. This is a
chance for them to start over.”
Laurendeau added, “The occupants of these homes will have a permanent
address, a supportive community, and the help they need to avoid returning
to life on the streets. This is such an impactful project, it is truly
a life-changing opportunity for the recipients.”
After gathering and loading up all the donations, the furnishings and
supplies were delivered to the “tiny homes” site where a group
of volunteers were able to tour one of the homes. As they were walking
out, joyous whispers “I’m so glad we did this,” were shared.
Looking for an opportunity to create a little holiday magic? Don’t
wait for December to help make someone’s season shine brighter.
For more information about Hand in Hand of Glynn or to donate,