Life becomes difficult if you are old and lonely unless you have the right neighbors. Anne Glancey, of New Jersey, was lucky on that count.
When the city authorities threatened to fine her for necessary repairs to her house and other code violations, she didn’t have the financial means to do so.
Nor had she any friends or relatives to turn to. Her only contact was with the neighbors, Kristin and Adam Polhemus. But that was enough to see her through.
The list that the city authorities of Hamilton Township had sent was daunting for someone in her situation. Anne had to repaint the house, get rid of a derelict car lying in her front yard, and trim the lawn; or she would face three violations with fines that could add up to $3,000 per day. This had always been her home and naturally, Anne was quite upset.
She showed the letter to Adam and Kristin. They decided to help and posted on Facebook inviting neighbors in Hamilton.
In her post, Kristin invited them to spare a few hours over the weekend for the tasks at their elderly neighbor’s house. She mentioned the letter and also that Anne wasn’t in a position to physically or financially attempt the task herself. The task required at least 20 volunteers. She mentioned the timings and requested them to bring the tools and a ladder each. Kristin requested a reply to the invitation to know whether they planned to attend. She had even made arrangements for lunch and dinner for all the volunteers.
The response they received was overwhelming. Almost 25 people in the neighborhood chipped in. Kristen, Adam, and Anne were delighted at the response. Over 2 dozen kind neighbors volunteered for several weekends and donated supplies to complete the job before the deadline.
Adam found it amazing that people turned up to help a stranger just because their heart compelled them to do so. Each volunteer used their tools and supplies to first scrape the paint off the exterior before repainting it. They repaired the broken siding, spruced up the yard, repaired the porch, and gave away the old car to the Purple Heart Foundation.
It is estimated that the total work that was done and the cost of the materials would have cost Anne anywhere between $10,000 and $15,000. Her kind neighbors did it all for free. She is grateful for their support and generosity. Adam and Kristin are happy for Anne. They know that her life has been restored as she has developed a new relationship with her neighbors. She has now become more outgoing too.
Anne feels that through these little deeds of kindness, her neighbors have not only transformed Anne’s home but also lit a light in the elderly neighbor’s heart.
Anne’s kind neighbors have shown that little acts of kindness make a world of difference in the lives of lonely and helpless people living out the last years of their lives.
We are too busy in our own worlds, our own people and affairs. But we become true neighbors when we can cross the road once in a while and pay a little attention to what is happening in the next door. A little initiative by Kristin and Adam and the help of those unknown neighbors transformed Anne’s lonely world.
All images: Kristin Polhemus