One Good Turn (Deserves Another): The Neighborhood

Kierston Eastham-Rosen

A Community of Support


    Located on the corner of Carter Avenue and 25th Street, Neighbors Helping Neighbors (more commonly referred to as “The Neighborhood”) is an incredible resource for those affected by poverty, loss of employment, and the ongoing opioid drug crisis. The space, purchased by The Neighborhood in 2004, was officially completed in 2007 and has now been serving the local community for approximately 13 years.
    Todd Young serves as the Director of The Neighborhood. Young is originally from Columbus, Ohio, and initially relocated to the Ashland area to serve as a youth pastor at a local church. Young joined The Neighborhood after his current position became available and has been serving the local community ever since. “The Neighborhood is a betterment program and a development program,” said Young.
    The Neighborhood focuses not only on determining the root cause of an individual’s poverty, but also works in collaboration with other internal and external organizations in an effort to elevate them above their current circumstances. According to Young, The Neighborhood is “leading people to a destination and not just leaving them where they’re at.”
    Desirea White, the kitchen manager at the Ashland Community Kitchen, is a former client of The Neighborhood. White first came to The Neighborhood to complete state-required volunteer hours. At that time, White was not only homeless but was trying to support a growing family. White started cooking in the kitchen during her first week on the job and has been making meals for patrons of The Neighborhood ever since.
    White now works for the kitchen full-time, has stable housing, and is able to help others in a job that she loves. The Neighborhood was “a saving grace” for White and her family, providing employment, meals, and clothing during a vulnerable time.
James Poindexter (“Bishop”) is a native of Charleston, West Virginia, and moved to the Ashland area in 1998. After losing his wife to cancer, The Neighborhood helped him pay his utility bills, provided clothing for his children, and after an extended absence from work after his wife’s passing, provided Bishop with referrals to various companies to seek employment. Bishop now works as a clinical dependency associate at Mended Reeds in Ironton, Ohio, a substance abuse and mental health facility.
    Bishop now brings his own clients to The Neighborhood for assistance. According to Bishop, serving the underserved and reaching vulnerable members of the community must be a team effort and a community partnership. “We need to find a way to bond together and pick each other back up . . . we as citizens need to put [the community] back together.”
    The Neighborhood houses several different nonprofit organizations serving low-income individuals within the Ashland area. Each nonprofit within The Neighborhood serves its own unique role, from serving food to providing clothing and toiletries to those in need.
    The Dressing Room, completed in 2011, is the area’s largest clothing closet, serving approximately 25,000 community members each year. The organization offers free clothing to any person in need; individuals can visit the closet once per week to obtain necessary clothing items. The closet accepts donations of both new and clean, gently-used clothing, as well as monetary donations to purchase intimates and blankets. The Dressing Room will be hosting Prom-N-Aide March 21-22, 2020, where individuals may shop for prom and formalwear, tuxedos, suits, shoes, and jewelry.
    The Dressing Room Operations Manager Tammy McIntyre explained that she and other employees of The Neighborhood often form lasting relationships with their clients. “You form a real bond with some of these people that need you.”
    Ashland Community Kitchen joined the Neighborhood in 2012 and serves approximately 150 meals each day to qualifying individuals. The kitchen receives food donations from local restaurants and welcomes volunteers interested in helping serve meals. The kitchen serves three meals a day Monday through Thursday and serves breakfast and lunch on Fridays.
    CAReS, or Community Assistance and Referral Services, provides assistance with utilities, prescriptions, housing, and holiday assistance and provides referrals to other social services agencies. CAReS also provides baby formula, baby food, diapers, household goods, and emergency food to those in need. CAReS is currently seeking volunteers to assist with its various programs in the CAReS office at The Neighborhood.
    Clean Start provides facilities and services targeted specifically towards the homeless community. Clean Start has been with The Neighborhood since 2013 and provides essential facilities and amenities such as private restrooms and showers, personal care items, and mail service for those with no permanent address.
    Hope Central is a resource helping connect individuals with the various services available at The Neighborhood, as well as a partner organization with United Way. Hope Central is not located within the physical Neighborhood facility, but is within its network of agencies and is located on nearby Bath Avenue. Hope Central’s focus is on education, job securement, and job training. It works in conjunction with Ashland Community and Technical College, Shawnee State University, the Boyd County Library, and other organizations to accomplish their goals of helping individuals secure steady employment.
    Finally, River Cities Harvest is The Neighborhood’s in-house food bank. Started in 2007, River Cities Harvest distributed 928,000 pounds of food last year alone. Food distributed by River Cities Harvest goes to various food pantries in Boyd, Greenup, and Lawrence County, Kentucky, as well as Lawrence County, Ohio. The organization collects much of its food from local restaurants and grocery stores, utilizing volunteers to transport food donations. Those interested in volunteering to pick up food donations may submit an application on the organization’s website.