By: Eileen Oaks—
Muncie, IN—“Revitalization work in Muncie’s South Central and Thomas Park/Avondale neighborhoods continued despite, and in some circumstances, fueled by the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to a generous grant from General Motors,”according to Jena Ashby, Muncie Habitat Director of Impact & Programs.
The $25,000 grant received from General Motors in the fall of 2019,was used to help resident-driven and partner-organization projects that supported neighborhood needs.
“General Motors funding proved vital as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were felt throughout households in south Muncie,” Ashby explained. “This grant was specifically received by Muncie Habitat for Humanity because of our participation in the Habitat for Humanity International Neighborhood Revitalization Learning Cohort.”
The Learning Cohort is made up of 10 affiliates across the United States to implement the Quality of Life Framework. The 8twelve Coalition is the project convened by Muncie Habitat focused on resident-led neighborhood change in South Central and a part of Thomas Park/Avondale neighborhoods on Muncie’s southside.
The General Motors Grant supported Coalition partners including: Avondale United Methodist Church, Boys & Girls Club of Muncie, ecoREHAB, Maring-Hunt Library, Muncie Mission, Ross Community Center, South Central Neighborhood Association, Thomas Park Avondale Neighborhood Association, Urban Light CDC, and Urban Light Community Church.
These funds covered a diverse assortment of local projects, including:
- Playground equipment installation at the South Central Community Garden at 7th and Jefferson by Urban Light Community Development.
- Programming/events implemented by South Central and Thomas Park/Avondale Neighborhood Associations.
- Weekly community dinners served drive-thru style to 80 residents at Avondale UMC.
- Gloves, masks, thermometers, face shields, & plastic utensil kits bought for the Muncie Mission takeout meals to safely serve 35 lunchtime meals each weekday.
- Weatherization of a Muncie Mission home in the transitional housing program.
- Grocery gift cards purchased by Urban Light Community Church used by community members needing assistance.
- Daily breakfast, lunch and a snack served to 17 children of essential workers at the Boys and Girls Club of Muncie.
- Food and supplies bought for the Ross Community Centers weekly food market.
- Piloting the Coalition’s Neighbor Helping Neighbor project by ecoREHAB, where a resident can access supplies to help a neighbor with a repair at their home on their property.
- Improved signage for Maring Hunt Library and the Community Garden.
Funds also supported Coalition managed projects including:
- Dumpster Days—This project sees dumpsters placed throughout the 8twelve area so that neighbors can dispose of items that are too large for the regular trash collection. Over 26 tons of refuse was collected this spring.
- Resident meetings and community planning meetings.
- The Avondale Community Garden located at 10th and Sampson and the adopt-a-lot program.
The 8twelve revitalization plan was developed because of several community meetings spearheaded by Greater Muncie Habitat for Humanity. The plan focuses on improving building a sense of community, creating social cohesion, collective action, and sector impacts related to housing, education, beautification, and businesses. Learn more, and get involved with the coalition at https://8twelvemuncie.com/or by liking the page on Facebook.