“It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood. A beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine? Could you be Mine?”

If you started singing or humming the tune to those lyrics, you must be one of Mr. Rogers’ neighbors.

I simply adored Mr. Rogers when I was a child. I learned so many important lessons from his show including what it meant to be a neighbor. Even as a young girl, I worked out that a neighbor could be someone who lives in the same neighborhood, but it could also be someone you’ve never met. Mr. Rogers and I had never met personally, but I knew that he cared about me, and I cared about him, because we were neighbors.

There’s a quiet, national holiday coming up next Wednesday, September 28th known as Good Neighbor Day. President Jimmy Carter proclaimed it a national holiday in 1978, and he said:

“As our Nation struggles to build friendship among the peoples of this world, we are mindful that the noblest human concern is concern for others. Understanding, love and respect build cohesive families and communities. For most of us, this sense of community is nurtured and expressed in our neighborhoods where we give each other an opportunity to share and feel part of a larger family.”

I think we would do well to remember what it means to be a good neighbor, and I encourage you to start hatching a plan for how you and your family and friends can celebrate Good Neighbor Day next week.

What can you do to increase understanding, love and respect in your neighborhood? Here are a few ideas to care for your neighbors who are struggling to provide healthy food for their families.

  • For a better idea of what life is like for our neighbors in poverty, check with your Community Action office to take part in a Poverty Simulation that will help you bridge the gap from misconception to understanding. Click here for more info.
  • Giving is an act of love, and you can love your neighbor by joining with Feeding Missouri to buy more fresh fruit and vegetables for our neighbors in need. Pitch in to buy some produce here.
  • Service is a wonderful act of respect. If you are able to volunteer at your local food pantry or soup kitchen, you may come face to face with some of your neighbors who will astound you with their stories. Find a pantry here.