It was a long day. We went to maybe 6 work sites and visited most of them twice, a few 3 times. From 9:30 am - 4:30 pm it was nonstop. He was working before that and had more to do afterward. We were on the south side of town and the north side of town. We went to two different hardware stores, and we didn't have time to stop for lunch.
Each time we got in the car he was answering and responding to what seemed like a never-ending stream of phone calls and texts while checking his binder with lists of names, phone numbers, addresses, and supply needs to make sure what people needed was getting to the right place at the right time.
"You gotta laugh and have fun, because honestly man these days are just silly long. I'm laughing and joking, but man they're just crazy long days. But that's what makes it fun and bearable," he said.
Jeff has been on staff at NeighborLink for over 2 years. He is the Director of Mobilization, which means he essentially interacts with volunteers and neighbors on most projects. He ensures volunteers and neighbors have all they need to successfully do a project. Before coming on staff, Jeff volunteered for 8 years.
This week he is overseeing over 150 volunteers with a Mission Serve team from around the country who are working on 20 NeighborLink projects. He is the man people go to when they need more paint, nails, tools, lumber, or if there's an issue. Before the team arrived, he prepared the projects they would do and visited each neighbor at least once to assess what was needed.
This isn't what a normal week looks like for Jeff, but it shows the integral part he plays at NeighborLink and the success of neighbors loving neighbors in practical ways. His humility and dedication to loving the community is inspiring. He is the hinge between neighbors and volunteers.
"I can cut through all these neighborhoods to go from project to project, and I like cutting through all the neighborhoods, because I know all the side streets. But when I do cut through the neighborhoods I see houses that we've had interactions with and have affected in one way or another, and I can't not drive through a neighborhood that I don't see that somewhere. And I think that's a really cool thing," Jeff said.
This week he'll go through a few tanks of gas driving Chuck around to the Mission Serve worksites. He doesn't usually have time to take lunch breaks on weeks like this, and maybe even sometimes downs a 5-hour energy. Yet he keeps going with a glad heart as his mindset continues to change and shift with each project and each neighbor he interacts with. In the midst of exhaustion, stress and sometimes humorous frustration (like when a project site starts painting a house the wrong color) he keeps on, because he sees that small things change neighborhoods and believes one day he will see the harvest of all that he has done and continues to do.
"I think it's always worth doing something," he said. "If there's six or seven things to be done and we can maybe realistically only do one or two things, I think by doing those one or two things you're giving that homeowner some hope. And maybe you can't take care of the other items on their list, but in doing those one or two things and giving them hope, I think that's big. And sometimes even just by coming and listening to their story and hearing what they have to say I think is a big thing."