CLEVELAND — A few months ago, the group Values in Action launched a citywide initiative to take our city from Cleveland to "Kindland." Now, organizers are focusing on a neighborhood with needs not often seen.
Reverend Brian Cash and his team from East Mount Zion Baptist Church have important work to do in Cleveland's Fairfax neighborhood. They're doing food drops, but it's more than what you think: They're trying to start a movement ... from their hearts.
“We are out here to share love to a community that has been forgotten about," Rev. Cash told us.
They want to provide help for neighbors with voices unheard. And, they have a message, too: Kindness.
"It's going to impact the churches, the families, the businesses, and people on the streets. And when one neighborhood is impacted by an entire culture, it changes everything. It changes everyone, and everybody's on the same wavelength," Values-in-Action Foundation President Stuart Muszynski said.
Backed by the Kindland initiative, volunteers made their way around East 31st Street, delivering love in each bag -- in each one of those warm smiles.
“Sometimes we get stagnant and we get stale and we stay in our four walls. But this kind of activity just continues to remind us who we are called to be," Rev. Cash told us.
Then, the volunteers stopped at the Fisher's. Reverend Carolyn Greene first met them this past summer.
“I was giving out lunches to the children in the neighborhood. And I came here and knocked on the door ... because I saw a little toys around," Rev. Greene said.
On the outside, the house needs some repairs. On the inside, the foundation is strong. Ruth Fisher lives here with her sister LaTanya Humphrey and their combined nine children. They also live with their mother, who is disabled.
"She had a brain aneurysm and in the middle of her brain surgery, she had a stroke," Ruth told us. “So she's paralyzed on her right side.”
The 12 of them didn't always live together, but 18 months ago, tragedy brought them together.
“We crashed on I-71 and he passed away," Ruth said.
She's talking about her child's father, who was killed in the crash. Their two-year-old son, Jace, was seriously hurt.
“They thought he was going to have some brain injuries and everything,” Ruth remembered.
And, Ruth, severely injured herself, underwent an emergency C-Section to deliver her son, Josiah.
“I have a lot of metal in my body from the accident," Ruth said.
So, with open arms, LaTanya took Ruth and her children into the home where she was living with her own children, and caring for her mother.
She's trying to provide for the whole family. But, money, clothes and food are hard to come by.
“So, I’m on disability, not working right now," Ruth said.
That's why, these groceries are more than just bags of food.
“It makes me feel grateful," Ruth said. "Especially with everything going on right now."
The work of Rev. Cash and his team is just beginning.
“So it starts here, but it's going to be spreading from street to street, house to house, neighborhood to neighborhood. We're just going to encourage everybody to contribute and continue to build on what we have started," Rev. Cash said of their plans to bring kindness to Fairfax.
“It makes me feel wonderful," Rev. Carolyn Greene said. “I looked for an opportunity to be a helping hand."
Inspired and touched by kindness, Ruth hopes to pay it forward.
“(I want to) get back to work and be able to bless my sister the way she's blessed me and my children," Ruth told us.
Want to take the Kindland pledge? Click HERE.
For more information on East Mount Zion Baptist Church, click HERE.