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Gary Wells - March 2022

Around the mission and across the nation, we teach and talk a lot about social capital. Simply put, social capital is relational wealth made of friendships. Those relationships give a person the capacity to withstand tough times and even make important advancements in life. Social capital is vital to a person’s stability and emotional health.

It’s always heartbreaking to meet people who have no family and friends, and in part, that’s why our Neighbor Connect ministry exists. This unique ministry of Watered Gardens connects one neighbor’s need to another neighbor’s skill. Whether it’s a need to build a ramp for someone coming home from the hospital or a lawn that needs some attention, we are continuously building our database of volunteers and employing them to serve in our community. These acts of kindness are often the starting place to help someone build social capital.

Gary and his wife are a great example. After being stranded in another city, they came to Joplin broke and with no social capital at all. Because of Neighbor Connect volunteers, they’ve since made friends and have found a church home.

“Our move to Joplin was bad, but things didn’t get much better when we arrived. I was really upset and didn’t know who to turn to until someone told us about Watered Gardens. Angela with Neighbor Connect has been so good to us, and the guys who’ve helped with house repairs have done such great work—better than I could imagine. It’s shown me that there are lots of people in Joplin who aren’t just trying to help themselves.”

Gary and his wife are still living in a trailer, and they still don’t have much money, but they’re gaining wealth of a different kind as they continue to meet good neighbors in our city. Thank you for your continued support. More than addressing material poverty, you’re addressing relational poverty, too.

James Whitford

Co-Founder and Executive Director