LEBANON, Ohio (FOX19) - A new program has launched in Lebanon that is designed to spread kindness by helping families and students in need.
Under Lebanon’s new “Neighborhood Bridges” program, a neighbor could help a neighbor, or a student could help a classmate, and not even know it.
“The idea of Neighborhood Bridges is to bridge that gap between community member and resident or family that’s in need and wouldn’t reach out because they’re maybe embarrassed," Rebecca Strole, one of the Lebanon Neighborhood Bridges Area Directors, said.
The non-profit started in Westerville, Ohio in 2017 as a way to connect people who need a helping hand with those who want to give it.
It has since spread to communities across the Buckeye State, as well as Alabama, with a partnership now in place in Lebanon City Schools.
“Our free and reduced lunch is at about, it goes between 23 and 27 percent," Tracy Funke, District Resource Coordinator for Lebanon City Schools, said.
Through the non-profit, Lebanon school advocates pinpoint needs and help address them. Perhaps a student needs a coat, Funke said, or a family needs new beds.
“There’s nothing too big or too small. Could be a $15 school fee. It could be, ‘I need a house full of furniture,’" Lynn Payne, District Resource Coordinator for Lebanon City Schools, said.
Volunteers then list the “opportunities for kindness” on social media and online, giving anonymous donors the chance to make the wishes come true.
“The response from the community has been amazing," Strole said.
Throughout the process, both parties remain anonymous. Donations are dropped off at certain locations, like the Countryside YMCA in Lebanon, and organizers then ensure they get to their final destination.
“When you see the look on somebody’s face, when you know you can hand somebody a box of brand new pots and pans and they’re like ‘oh my gosh. That’s one less thing I have to worry about,'" Payne said.
Although they are currently focused on the school system, they hope to see kindness spread throughout Warren County and beyond.
“It’s a hand-up. It’s okay, with no judgment, with nothing, just, ‘Hey let’s walk this walk together,’” Payne said.
Lebanon is not the only local school district that has implemented the program. Sycamore Community Schools are a part of it as well.
You can also learn more about it on the school district’s website.