TWPF pilot project helping neighborhood in many ways

TWPF pilot project helping neighborhood in many ways

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Travelers might not think twice as to what lies in the trailer park behind the long strip of motel rooms on East Old Lincoln Way, surrounded by mostly farmland and a few homes and businesses.

But through the efforts of The Watering Pail Foundation, the residents of Glenridge are having a variety of needs met and getting opportunities to improve their lives.

An entire town is what Laura Salisbury, founder of The Watering Pail Foundation, would consider it as she described the potential in rebuilding this rural area. TWPF is currently awaiting approval as a community-development nonprofit entity, which would expand its ability to work with people in almost any circumstance — mental health, substance abuse, homelessness, child, senior citizen, faith, education and physical wellness.

Nearly two years into the first pilot project, TWPF has a small board, several volunteers and has established itself as a liaison in the small community through projects and outreach with a focus on supporting stability in homes of individuals and families.

“It’s unique because the work being done is with the person and families in their actual environment,” Salisbury said. “This particular neighborhood has over 140 residents living in a rural area, which is a factor in filling gaps and assessing needs. On a daily basis, I am assisting individuals with processes to improve lives, partnering with families once a relationship is established and becoming an extension of their family.”

Salisbury has two part-time jobs and somehow finds the time to lead TWPF, which has renovated three empty rooms at the former hotel in front of Glenridge, with plans for more.

A local church renovated two of the rooms into a community room with a fully functioning kitchen, as well as two washers and dryers for tenants of the property to use. An exercise room is 75% ready, needing a few more pieces of fitness equipment to complete, and another room will be a community space, originally planned just for teens but now open for all ages, with a calendar system being put in place to coordinate the use of the room. TWPF also is working on renovating three more rooms.

Finally, TWPF has developed a food pantry with freezers, plenty of food from local businesses, tables, benches and community volunteers ready to work. An added feature Salisbury stressed is food can be prepared next door to the food pantry in the community room.

Over the summer Linda Karger and her daughter Jenny volunteered to paint themes rooted on community development for the renovated bus shelter in front of the 9-acre property. The duo worked in the heat with an unusual set-up — cars driving by, children tearing by on bicycles, cats at their feet and frequent conversations from strangers. Residents of the property would often stop as they entered the drive and comment to the artists how amazing their work was, along with many thanks for creating this new space for kids as they leave for school.

Salisbury looks forward to continuing her relationship with the property owner as he plays an important role in improving lives; she checks with the owner first and then proceeds with any of her plans. Salisbury said this is truly what is rare about the situation, as not many people would accept a stranger on the property who wants to step in and help.

With pending nutrition classes, a resource nook and a new basketball court in the works, one theme will stay planted in the entrance of this area: community building themes proclaiming messages to inspire hope and happiness. TWPF is thrilled to be assisting those in Wayne County and welcomes anyone who wants to walk alongside in the journey.

To reach The Watering Pail Foundation, call 330-464-6761 or email lswateringpail@gmail.com.