It is a beautiful day in the Neighborhood


Photo provided by Sam Clark

Lia Blackard, Editor-in-Chief

Love Thy Neighbor is a youth-led ministry at Centenary United Methodist Church. It focuses on feeding impoverished people within the Winston Salem area and community interaction. While some volunteers serve food, drinks, and dessert, others sit around a table family style with their “neighbors.” They enjoy conversation, good food, and quality care. Love Thy Neighbor was created to provide a safe space for people to sit and enjoy a meal together. 

“It was created to give those in need a safe space to have a meal, free medical care, to be seen, and a place to call home for the afternoon,” senior Sam Clark said. “It really connects the community.”

Clark has been a volunteer for Love Thy Neighbor for roughly a decade and became a leader toward the end of his time in middle school. As a leader, Clark helps in the planning of events. 

Photo provided by Sam Clark

“My role as a leader on the leadership team is to make plans for every [Love Thy Neighbor] event,” Clark said. “Whether that’s menu options like we grill burgers or will we ask our church kitchen to make other meals. Other things like passing and handling certain jobs, deciding on our giveaways like clothes or goody bags of toiletries and the medical clinic list, and how many [people] we can take.”

Students from across the county take part in volunteering. 

“There are kids from every school and specifically kids all over Forsyth county like we have kids from Tabor, Reynolds, Reagan, and kids from Forsyth Country Day,” Clark said. “But it’s not just high schoolers, we have a very strong presence of middle schoolers as well from schools like Wiley, Paisley, Summit, Jefferson etc.”

The large youth presence is what makes Love Thy Neighbor a unique service project compared to others around the county. 

“The most unique part of the program is that it is led and organized mostly by youth,” senior Matthew Epermanis said. “It is just a great environment and I enjoy doing it.”

Epermanis is also a member of the leadership team for Love Thy Neighbor along with Freshman Charlotte Hubbard. 

“I have been active in [Love Thy Neighbor] since 6th grade,” Hubbard said. “It is a great way to get volunteer hours, and help our community, but it’s also special because you can make bonds with the people you meet.” 

Any student, parent, or teacher can take part in this program and are encouraged to do so. 

“A student should volunteer at Love Thy Neighbor because it’s a great opportunity to make an impact in the community and meet new people,” Epermanis said. 

If interested in joining this unique program, check out the Love Thy Neighbor Instagram @centenary.ltn or reach out to Sam Clark ([email protected]) for more information.

Photo provided by Sam Clark