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Portland church uplifts neighbors in need with one-stop-shop support services

New Hope Church's Neighbor to Neighbor initiative "adopts" households, providing everything from housecleaning to new appliances.

PORTLAND, Ore. — From the purple hair to the colorful outfit, Kait Skyler brightens up her neighborhood. She's lived in her house in Southeast Portland 15 years. 

"I get lonely living by myself, and I can't always get out because of my disability," said Skyler. 

She can't move as well as she used to and over time a lot of stuff piled up in her backyard. 

She wanted to clean out the shed, and found a church group to help. "They've hauled out a couple of dumpsters full of stuff" she said. 

But they didn't stop there. They also cleaned her gutters, moved her furniture, and even bought her a brand new air conditioner right before the heat wave.

Skyler says that's not all. The list goes on and on. "And I was, like, shocked because I didn't know that was part of the deal," said Skyler.

She now has a vision for a flower garden in the backyard she once thought was hopeless. 

It's all thanks to 'Neighbor to Neighbor' a program run by New Hope Church with a mission to help neighbors in need like Skyler.

Stuart Schmaltz started Neighbor to Neighbor at the church back in 2012. "Mostly we're family, we consider that we're 'adopting' them, and so we have the same teams monthly serving them. And they know any day of the week they can call us if a need arises and someone will be there to help them," said Schmaltz.

Grants and donations help the group of volunteers support widows, widowers and people with disabilities with whatever services or repairs they may need around the home. 

They currently serve 14 people in the Lents neighborhood— and eventually want to expand citywide. Schmaltz hopes more volunteers, churches and nonprofits will join in on the mission.

"There are countless people that are elderly who are just falling through the system. They need somebody to step into their lives and give them some love and some connection."

And that connection, above all else, brightens up Skyler's days.

"To come over and talk to me, or call me on the phone," explained Skyler, "that showed that they were caring about me.”

"We need a little bit of hope in this world, and right now more than ever," said Schmaltz. "We just want to be a ray of sunshine. We really want to be a reflection of Jesus."

They have been a ray of hope for Skyler. "It's changed my life because I can believe there is good in the world again," she said.

New Hope Church is in need of volunteers for Neighbor to Neighbor. You can reach out to them to learn more about how you can help with resources, donations or time. Contact info@newhopepdx.org.

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