Facebook group spreads word for those in need
November 25, 2013 10:50 AM
by ELLEN MATIS
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Mowing the grass, shoveling snow, getting the mail — to most these seem like mundane tasks.

But for some they are anything but.

It’s when someone is not able to perform everyday tasks that a helping hand is needed. A friendly neighbor, perhaps.

[PHOTO: Angel Botti, left, and Shauna McMillan, both of Robinson, showed the donations they have received through their Facebook page, “Friendly Neighbors.”  (Tom Peel/Gazette photo)]

That’s why “Friendly Neighbors” was created to help those in need, by two neighbors, in fact: Shauna McMillan and Angel Botti, who live down the street from each other in Robinson.

“Friendly Neighbors began as a dream of mine to help community members with simple tasks,” said McMillan, who started the Facebook-based organization with sidekick Botti. “We helped seniors get their mail and checked on them during inclement weather conditions.

McMillan said that after the organization’s Facebook page was created, it grew “like wildfire.”

The page says that it serves as the organization’s hub to share ideas and spread the word when someone needs help.

Inspired by a 10-year-old girl, Mackenzie Thompson, who wanted to make a difference in her community, a litter cleanup was held in May. A “Back to School” drive was held in August, when Friendly Neighbors stuffed backpacks full of supplies and delivered them to needy families. A basket party and benefit dance, with proceeds benefiting Friendly Neighbors, so they would be able to provide more services and resources to members of the community, was held earlier this month at the Bolivar American Legion. The list goes on.

At the November benefit, McMillan said the room was packed with supporters.

“I couldn’t stop the happy tears from flowing off and on all day.”

More is on the slate for the organization, she said, including a winter clothing drive in December that includes visits with Santa Claus, and a toy drive for children this holiday season. According to Botti, the organization is planning a community weekend-filled event with local businesses, a teen dance, hosting a band one night for adults and possibly a golf outing or softball tournament.

The organization’s level of community participation continues to grow.

“I can’t say enough about the community involvement,” McMillan said. “The group grew from five members to 860 members almost overnight. My phone is going off day and night with people wanting to donate.”

McMillan said she travels seven days a week picking up and delivering donations. She even cleared out a room in her house to store the items that are donated.

“I can barely open the door to get in,” she said. “They are stacked above my head and each bag is a blessing from God.”

The organization was able to deliver food and clothing donations to 143 individuals in just the past three months.

“I am taken back by the outpouring support of the community as Friendly Neighbors continues to be a channel between those who wish to help and those in need,” McMillan said.

“I never expected it to skyrocket as it has. This is my dream come true.”

Become a member of Friendly Neighbors on Facebook by visiting: http://on.fb.me/19OzNGb  (https://www.facebook.com/groups/350706734948542/)

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