Written by Sunnie Lain, Vincentian Support Services
Who is my neighbor?
Every morning, I leave home to come to my office at St. Vincent dePaul. I leave the South Dayton suburbs and drive about 15 minutes, first through the settled communities of Kettering, and then north on Route 48 into Oakwood. I pass beautiful historic homes, shops, and restaurants, and then I pass Patterson Road and head into Dayton. At some point, relatively suddenly, I am in an urban area, surrounded by everything you would expect to see there. I see traffic and construction; I hear horns and sirens, and the restaurants and shops that I saw just a few miles away have given way to gas stations, convenience stores, and bus stops. In the space of 15 minutes—the time that it takes to drive six miles—everything is changed.
A thought has occurred to me on these drives—“who is my neighbor?”
How can we live so close to each other and have such different lives and experiences?
How can we grow closer to one another and see that we are all part of one community?
We belong to each other
As Christians, we are told that we belong to each other. In Romans 12:5, Paul writes, “so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others”. It is hard sometimes to see what we share with others who, because of race, financial status, religion, or disability, may look different from us. When we are able to look beyond the things that make us different from one another, we are able to see that there are also many things that we have in common. We are more alike than we are different. When we encounter someone who may seem very different from us, it is critical that we realize that we are all created with innate worth and dignity, no matter what challenges life has thrown at us.
Let’s Help Our Neighbors
This belief is at the core of St. Vincent de Paul’s mission. All of our programs and services, from our shelters, to our Transitional and Permanent Supportive Housing programs, to our Food Pantries and Conferences in neighborhoods around the Dayton area, are rooted in the belief that we are called to see Christ in the faces of those we serve. Seeing each man, woman, and child that we serve as a unique individual with value informs everything that we do. We invite you to come and be a part of our mission. Get involved in a Conference in your local parish, volunteer at one of our ministries, or donate to help us bring hope to our neighbors.
We together can a make a difference in our Dayton community.