VIDEO: ‘Hi Neighbour Willoughby’ brings people together

Doyeon Lee, 9, and mom Jiaye Son took part in the ‘Hi Neighbour’ gourd painting event at the Willoughby park picnic shelter on Saturday, Oct. 29, one of a series of United Way-backed events designed to bring people together to make connections. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)Doyeon Lee, 9, and mom Jiaye Son took part in the ‘Hi Neighbour’ gourd painting event at the Willoughby park picnic shelter on Saturday, Oct. 29, one of a series of United Way-backed events designed to bring people together to make connections. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Neighbors (Left to right) Sophia Reagh, 7 1/2, Renee Reagh, and Bowen Tuckwood, 8 were happily decorating gourds for Halloween on Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Willoughby park as part of the ‘Hi Neighbour Willoughby’ United Way initiative to bring people together. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)Neighbors (Left to right) Sophia Reagh, 7 1/2, Renee Reagh, and Bowen Tuckwood, 8 were happily decorating gourds for Halloween on Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Willoughby park as part of the ‘Hi Neighbour Willoughby’ United Way initiative to bring people together. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Ryder Kernel, 9, was contemplating his work at the 'Hi Neighbour' gourd painting event at the Willoughby park picnic shelter on Saturday, Oct. 29. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

After her daughter, Sophia Reagh, shared her age, 7 1/2, with a visitor, mom Renee Reagh couldn’t resist.

“I’m 22,” she said, grinning.

“You are not,” an indignant Sophia declared.

“You’re much older!”

They were sharing a table with neighbour Bowen Tuckwood, eight, all decorating gourds for Halloween on Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Willoughby Park picnic shelter as part of the ‘Hi Neighbour Willoughby’ United Way initiative to bring people together.

Community Builder Contact Geraldine McManus said the goal of ‘Hi Neighbour’ events like the gourd painting event at the Willoughby park picnic shelter on Saturday, Oct. 29, is to bring people together to make connections. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Community Builder Contact Geraldine McManus said the goal of ‘Hi Neighbour’ events like the gourd painting event at the Willoughby park picnic shelter on Saturday, Oct. 29, is to bring people together to make connections. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

There was a lot of laughing and joking going on among the 25 people who took part in the event.

Geraldine McManus, the United Way community builder contact, explained it was part of an ongoing effort to connect neighbours in Willoughby.

“We mean to bring neighbours together, [to] make connections, because we know that once neighbours feel connected to each other, and to where we live, we feel healthier, happier, and communities are safer,” McManus told the Langley Advance Times.

In May, the initiative helped establish the first Little Free Pantry at the Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, based on the tiny community library model, but with non-perishable food.

The church funded construction and hosts the pantry on its property at 20097 72nd Ave. A local Girl Guide group was awarded a “Local Love” micro-grant to run a food drive to stock the pantry.

Hi Neighbour is looking for volunteer stewards to look after the pantry, with a time commitment of only one hour a month.

Pietro Fubini created a detailed tribute to the Ghostbusters movies at the ‘Hi Neighbour’ gourd painting event at the Willoughby park picnic shelter on Saturday, Oct. 29. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Pietro Fubini created a detailed tribute to the Ghostbusters movies at the ‘Hi Neighbour’ gourd painting event at the Willoughby park picnic shelter on Saturday, Oct. 29. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

As well, Hi Neighbour is hosting a series of workshops, featuring local Indigenous artists, that focus on learning about native plants and their medicinal uses, doing traditional beading and cedar weaving, and learning how to make bannock.

A private Facebook page, “Hi Neighbour – Willoughby” which posts about pending community events, has close to 200 members.

People with skills to share, or volunteer ideas they would like to champion, can join the page, or contact McManus by email at GeraldineM@uwbc.ca or apply directly through an online application form.

READ ALSO: How United Way helps local people tackle community issues

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Willoughby businesses welcome hundreds as annual event returns


Is there more to the story? Email: dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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