Ohio Missions Trip Day 1 Lesson: ‘People Are Not Projects’

We found this on a wall in the same town as Good Works, Inc.

Ohio Missions Trip Day 1 Lesson: ‘People Are Not Projects’


As fellow Monkey Do Project board member Tawni Reller and I were getting ready to leave on our Ohio Appalachian missions trip, we were a little apprehensive. You see, a miscommunication earlier in the week had put a temporary cloud over the trip, but we decided to move forward and do what we had come to Ohio to do–learn more about how we can help the people of Appalachia Ohio and create some ongoing relationships.

(L to R) Keith Wasserman of Good Works, Inc., and Jackie Wilson and Tawni Reller, Monkey Do Project board members

Good Works, Inc.

We were blessed to have the first stop on our trip as Good Works, Inc., and meet with founder Keith and some of his staff and the residents.

You see, 30 years ago Keith started this organization and helped people out of the basement in his home–he gave people a place to stay in his basement. Just … wow. Today, the organization has grown to multiple properties where they create a “community of hope” for people in poverty–giving them places to stay, responsibilities  and hope for a better tomorrow.

Tawni and I spent the day with Keith and one of the staff members, Dawn, as they gave us a tour of the property and sat and talked–really talked–with us about our organization, their organization, poverty and the needs of people in their area of Appalachia. Keith had so much good information that day, but one thing he said struck a chord with me…

“People Are Not Projects”

Have you ever had someone try to change you or something you were doing? Do you remember that feeling? (It pretty much sucked, right?) Well, imagine how people in need feel when we donate things to them without further contact. We go in, shove some clothes and a bag of food in their hands, give them a hug and then we’re gone–feeling good about ourselves.

Don’t get me wrong, people in need are super appreciative of donations. We’ve experienced many of them crying when we meet donation needs. But, as Keith pointed out, needs aren’t just physical. Needs are emotional and spiritual–people aren’t just “projects.”

As we had dinner that evening with people staying at one the homes provided by Good Works, Inc., I tried to keep that in mind. We helped prepare a small part of the meal (the salad) and then sat with the residents and workers and volunteer college students. It was important to listen to stories and interact … to get to know and understanding the people. (What a blessing that was!)

At The Monkey Do Project, I don’t want to ever see people just as “projects.” We do have different projects at our organization, but it will be important for us to remember that this is about people, not just the projects.

How Can You Help Good Works, Inc.?

Good Works, Inc. is in great need of donation vehicles because, like many areas of Appalachia, transportation is one of the biggest issues. Good Works has a fantastic program where people in need “work” for Good Works and, in turn, they receive “points” that they can put toward items they need (refrigerators, stoves, cars, etc.). If you have a used car, or know of someone who has a used car, won’t you think about donating it to Good Works, Inc.? (It’s tax deductible!)

To learn more about the amazing programs at Good Works, Inc., how they are helping people, and what they need from us to keep going, check out their website.


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