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Columbia, MD 21045
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Good Neighbor House Moves, Expands Services
Story by Heidi Shoemaker; Photos by Dave Hutman
After a year of raising funds to expand their services, the Good Neighbor House has a new, larger facility in downtown Dayton.
Fifteen years ago, Marianne Cruz volunteered at the Good Neighbor House (GNH) in Dayton, Ohio, as a dental assistant. When she left the area, never did she imagine returning as an unemployed and uninsured dental patient in need of emergency care. Was the GNH still around? Receiving unemployment benefits and caring for an extended family of seven, Cruz stepped out in faith and called the facility to see if they could help her husband with a serious, painful molar infection. Within 24 hours, a GNH dentist assisted her husband.
“No one should have to make the choice between getting the emergency dental care that they need or being able to pay their mortgage and keep a roof over their head. … Because of the Good Neighbor House, we didn’t have to make that choice,” said Cruz.
According to Tiffany Collie, development director, “Good Neighbor House had modest beginnings, operating out of a ‘house’ in the early years. We were founded in 1994 as the collaborative endeavor of eight Dayton Seventh-day Adventist churches.” The Ohio Conference oversees the operation of the facility.
Since 1996 entity volunteers have provided dental, medical and eye services to the community. As demand for services intensifies, the GNH continues to provide basic services with focused growth efforts in two critical areas: providing greater access to affordable dental care and expanding nutrition services. Nutrition services include a specialized food pantry that provides fresh, healthy foods as a way to eliminate obesity and chronic illness within underserved populations.
In December 2011, the GNH launched a $1.9 million capital campaign to expand. They met their goal, purchased and renovated a new facility in downtown Dayton and opened for services February 1.
“The Good Neighbor House facility will enable increased services and programs to people in need. Kettering Adventist HealthCare is very proud of the work that the quality volunteers provide and are pleased to partner with them to improve the lives of the communities we serve,” says Fred Manchur, Kettering Adventist HealthCare CEO.
Collie anticipates that by 2014, GNH volunteers will be able to better serve and offer more specialized services to more than 13,000 neighbors. She believes the GNH is “a bridge to self sufficiency.” She adds, “The majority of our patients are working, but they are making minimum wage and can’t afford the cost of going to the doctor’s office without insurance.”
A grand opening is scheduled for early summer. Visit www.goodneighborhouse.org to learn more about the new facility.
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