by Public Relations Office—Cedarville, Ohio
Cedarville, Ohio—What does “loving thy neighbor” really mean? Most people realize it’s not about giving cards, chocolate, jewelry or flowers. Sometime, it’s about giving food —especially during a power outage.
On Thursday, Sept. 18, Cedarville University asked faculty and staff members to invite neighbors who were still without power to enjoy complimentary meals at the University’s dining hall, affectionately known as “Chuck’s.” Donald Parvin, campus safety manager, teamed up with his cul-de-sac neighbors to distribute flyers to the surrounding area, focusing on those who were elderly or not affiliated with the University. Others invited relatives and family friends. News got out fast — 220 area residents poured in for dinner, enjoying breaded chicken, popcorn shrimp and stir-fry.
“I was proud of the University for going the extra mile, past the confines of campus and into the surrounding community,” said Amanda Graves, a junior at Cedarville. “In chapel we talk about the biblical command ‘love thy neighbor,’ and here was a chance to see that love in action.”
On Friday, Sept. 19, Chuck’s was open to the community for breakfast and dinner. The Williams, Yellow Springs residents, said their kids loved the “buffet style and ice cream.” Josh Nelson, Huber Heights resident and computer technician at Cedarville, hadn’t had power for six days and had to throw out a fully stocked refrigerator. He, his wife, and their three children thankfully received meals throughout the week from “extended family” — both blood relatives and the University.
James Rinaldi, the HVAC technician at Cedarville, enjoyed the chance to dine with his neighbors, the Helmick family. “I was at their house helping them install a generator, and we heard the news right in time for dinner,” he says. “I was able to share with them not only my technical assistance but also a warm meal.” On Friday night, he was joined by the Hanson family, Cedarville residents. “The University certainly hit a home run with this,” says Brian Hanson. “What a godsend.”
“As Christians, caring for others is something that we should be doing everyday,” shares John Davis, University spokesperson. “There was a pronounced need in our community, and we joined with thousands of others across our region to do whatever we could to assist friends and neighbors.”
The home-cooking and pasta lines were long, but the students didn’t mind waiting. “When our power was out, my friends and I searched in vain for local restaurants that were open. We ate fast food three times in two days, so I’m glad we could provide nourishing and healthy meals here at Cedarville,” says Michael Schoonover, a junior student. “Jesus fed five thousand with twelve loaves of bread, and while we didn’t do miracles here, I’m glad we could bless our neighbors by living out Christ’s example.”