Unified Thankfulness

By Nicole Chick, Partnership Coordinator

There is great divide in the city of Milwaukee. The division and segregation that consumes this city extends not only on an individual level, but an organizational level as well. Over the past several years leaders throughout the city have come together praying for unity. That individuals, organizations, ministries, churches, and schools would realize we all make up the community and we are not alone. True unity can be achieved when every piece of the community realizes we all play a pivotal role in whether a community thrives or dies.
On Wednesday November 16th, I got to see first hand the Lord working to unite the north side of Milwaukee. Evangel Assembly of God hosted a Thanksgiving event and meal for their neighboring community, the Woodlands. Over 300 people attended the event with a homemade Thanksgiving meal cooked by volunteers, a balloon artist, music, bounce houses, raffles, and games.

Both Evangel and the Woodlands have been partnering with Next Step for over five years and it has been incredible to see how the Lord has developed these partnerships.

The Woodlands community is very diverse both racially and economically. Many families in the neighborhood have limited access to public transportation, clothing, groceries, and other necessary resources. Community organizer, Neva Hill, works with the City of Milwaukee and the families in the Woodlands to provide resources and activities throughout the year. Neva works with all volunteers to assist the needs of these families and it has been incredibly challenging for her to do on her own. Back in October at the Next Step Community Leadership Board Meeting, Neva expressed to the other partners her need of support, volunteers, donations, and help with events. Neva expressed her heart and desire for unity and that we would all work together.

It is amazing to see how the Lord has worked through Evangel, as they quickly stepped up to support the Woodlands community and come alongside Neva to love and provide resources for the families there. Evangel provided a bus to pick up families from the Woodlands for the event, provided a full thanksgiving meal, resources about the church, and so many fun activities and events for the children.

As I served stuffing for three hours to hundreds of families and church members I was overwhelmed by the power of unity. The diversity that filled the Evangel’s gym as families young and old ate, served, played, and embraced each other genuinely and authentically, was the most beautiful picture of unity I have ever seen. Unified joy and thankfulness was taking place before my eyes and I got to witness and be a part of it.

My prayer is that this unity grows. That unity does not only last for the duration of a holiday event. That the Lord would continue to unite partners like Neva and Evangel to help communities throughout Milwaukee thrive.

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