by Rachel Metzger
Gwen Snead has a collage of photographs hanging on her living room wall. “These are all the babies that I took care of,” she proudly shows me. “Most of them are grown now, but when I turned 80 some of them got together and threw a birthday party for me. They all took turns telling me how much it meant to them that I took care of them. It really touched me,” she explains fondly.
The room that was once her Day-Care still has a few toys but long gone are the days when Gwen took care of babies and toddlers while their parents worked. She has been living in her New Castle, Delaware home since 1969. The modest home is well kept and holds years and years of sweet memories. Gwen lives alone and manages to live on a single monthly Social Security check. He daughter checks on her regularly and takes her to the grocery store. Gwen chose to stop driving years ago after her car was stolen. Nowadays she rarely leaves her house.
A few months ago, a neighborhood friend told her about Good Neighbors. Gwen was taking sponge baths at her bathroom sink because her old tub had developed a hole. She also couldn’t keep her broken front door closed. “Every time there was a strong wind, it blew open. I really didn’t know what I was going to do. I don’t have the money to fix anything.” She stood up from her sofa and invited me to walk down the hallway to her bathroom. “Look how beautiful it is!” she says as she shows me her brand-new bathroom tub. “I love to take baths now; it is the best part of my day. It’s like going to the spa!” Gwen is no longer taking sponge baths and her front door is weatherized and remains shut after Good Neighbors made these repairs to her home for free. “The Good Neighbors’ project managers were so polite. I just can’t say enough about them. They worked so quietly, I hardly noticed they were here.”
It’s homeowners like Gwen that benefit from the generosity of Good Neighbors’ numerous supporters. When you generously donate to Good Neighbors, just something as small as a locked door or a bathtub make a world of difference. The smallest acts of kindness add up to enormous impact.
Above: Gwen's new bathtub