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We are all in this together

June 4, 2020

I am still working on writing a summary of our amazing 11 weeks #reliefdeliveries outreach.  It was a true labor of love that I am both exhausted and inspired by.  It would be truly impossible to list every business, organization, church, school, group, and person that made this outreach of assistance was fueled, filled, and funded by.  You cast the stone in the waters that powered the ripples to reach the needs here within our arm’s reach.

You joined together with Hope and Friendship and became the conduit of unconditional love and generosity, grace and peace.

83 days ago I sent out the first email and from the moment I pushed the “send” button the outpouring was fueled and we were on fire to meet every need we could.

Immediately I had friends email me back and offer to be hands and feet.  I formed a group of what I feel were compassionate warriors.  They didn’t let the risk keep them from rising to the need.  You moved donations, made phone calls, shopped for our seniors when they called for our help, filled the boxes and became the team of delivery drivers who pulled up on Canal Street, let us load you up and send you out to deliver the precious cargo from those who could help to those who needed it.

75 days ago the task became a bit more difficult when “stay at home” came into effect, and this also increased our list of needs.  So many were now underemployed or unemployed and desperate to hold on.

In 11 weeks you made possible

More than 530 #reliefdeliveries, phone calls, “goodie bags”, and shopping call outs to more than 190 homes.

More than 500 meals from our local restaurants were offered to homes that would otherwise not have been able to afford the luxury of a “dinner ordered out” or offered to homes in a compound crisis and needed the gift for body and spirit (“red flag families”).   This was due to 100% owner driven donations from restaurants (thank you to Manus of Hughie McClafferty’s,  the Gricus family of Gelsosomo’s & Digs, and Jeff of Tap House Grill); from #plus one donations of a meal for a friend; donations from sales from restaurant offers; 4 Penguins sales; and Kyle Cuiching’s Taste of Lemont on Wheels.

Those “red flag” families were gifted with assistance offered by you to help take pressure off of an already incredibly painful period.  You paid a rent, a mortgage, a COBRA bill, helped pay for license plates, all of this for households that were not just dealing with lack or less income but who were dealing with life and death during this pandemic.  No one voluntarily puts a “red flag” over their house, but they were there, I told you of the needs and you arrived to be the army of angels that brought tears, hope and temporary relief.

There were countless “miracles of mashed potatoes” (coined one early Hope and Friendship Christmas Dinner delivery when we were 15 boxes short on mashed potatoes and knew we’d have to deliver the meals “as is” and in walked a friend who had trouble with her oven and apologized for being late bearing 15 servings of mashed potatoes).  I love these miracles.  I love when someone asks me for something and then I would find it in the delivery bins.  When I thought we had exhausted everyone from donating and then we were overcome with donations that allowed us to call more homes to ask if they needed a #reliefdelivery.  These were testaments to me that we were under the watchful eye of one who heard every need before I did, moved many hearts to offer exactly what was needed, and allowed us to be the conduits of that love, grace, generosity and peace.

We are not done.

The mission of Hope and Friendship Foundation beats stronger in this corner of the world than it has for it’s 15 years. It has been and always will be to be a conduit between those that can help to those who need it; to be hands, feet and hearts responding to “life blows” that are unrelenting and undiscriminating.  There is a small degree of separation between a home that can help to a household that needs a hand of help.  Life happens.

It is not the end, it is just time to move into the next chapter.

At this time of year I would be emailing you about Mission Stay Saturdays and Summer Youth Outreaches.  For now we will keep working on how to still be a beating heart here in our community and keep a thumb on the pulse of where we need to rise up.  My amazing Hope and Friendship Board is “all in” and we will be present and meeting needs, offering outreaches, and being a conduit between those who need help from those who can be the hands and feet of it in a safe manner for both.

We did a beautiful job of that for 11 solid weeks my friends.  I am so very proud of the ripples, the help, and the love that was delivered week after week after week after…

I look forward to working, walking, and caring for everyone here within our arm’s reach and watching those ripples reach far beyond our Lemont borders.

I have a few things in the making right now that will adhere to the orders of the State and offer the safety that we all want to be aware of and practice.

But for now…the next chance to rise to the challenge ends on June 7th!!!

Commit to walking/running 2 miles (or just sign up, get the shirt and say you did that!!!)

Sign up at:

or through our website:

Shipping is available so ALL are invited to join in the fun to be united in this relief effort!!

Post a picture of you walking, running (or sitting in a chair) with your shirt on the Hope and Friendship Facebook or Instagram pages

(FB- @HopeandFriendshipMinistries IG- @HopeandFriendship)

In this time that we feel so very far apart let’s make a statement that we are not apart.

We are #miles2getherin2020




One last comment that I cannot hold back from offering due to the current times of pain in our world.

I have come to you for more than 15 years with needs.  I have heard the stories, listened to their voices and their stories, validated the need and then communicated it to you.  For those of you who have joined me for deliveries of Christmas Dinner, Thanksgiving Turkeys, or this past #ReliefDeliveries outreach you may have arrived at a house that didn’t appear like one that should be in need, you may have met someone as you dropped off the donation that you knew and hadn’t seen eye to eye with in the past, you may have known that we have assisted friends who are nothing like you are yet you arrived, you assisted and you met a need.  Some asked me “Why do they need?”  “Why are you helping them?”  I have heard your voice and answered every one of you with the same response:  Need does not discriminate.  There is a small degree of separation between those that need a hand, and those that can help meet a need.

Job loss.

Loss of a loved one.

Being a “non-essential” worker, living paycheck to paycheck and suffering a life blow of a car break down, a health crisis, or a global pandemic.

Loss of the “head of the household”.

A diagnosis that causes a life change.

Lack of finances to fight for what is justly yours and therefore be left with less than you deserve and less than you can support those live with you.

A battle for life of your loved one that causes you to balance work with trying to be present for every minute you can.

A devastating injury or illness to your child that puts one parent in constant bedside care.


Those that have supported Hope and Friendship have allowed me to tell a story and have met a need without meeting, judging, or assessing the value or the need of the person who spoke.  If this unconditional love and grace could ripple outside of our borders and throughout the country and world we would not fear the future for our children.  If we could live as we have for the past 11 weeks, looking out for each other without judging the “stories” or the person, we would see a world that would make us proud, not one that makes us ache.

Thank you friends of Hope and Friendship, thank you Lemont, for being a community of acceptance of every need and every person.




Wishing you peace, health, and unconditional love all around you and within you,


Terri O’Neill-Borders




Hope and Friendship Foundation
721 Hickory St, Lemont, IL  60439

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31: 8-9

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