In the early 2000s, five community members looked around and saw new families were moving in, and new needs were surfacing. Families were hungry. Parents needed support.
And they realized we all needed a closer, more caring community. So in partnership with Otterbein United Methodist Church, they took a leap of faith, purchased an old home on Green Street, remodeled it, and gave it a new name: Shalom House. In 2012, Shalom House became an independent, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
“Shalom” is an old Hebrew word full of meaning. While it can be a way of saying “hello” and “goodbye” – a simple exchange between neighbors – “Shalom” also can mean peace, completeness, and prosperity.
Author Cornelius Plantinga describes shalom as, “the webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight…In the Bible, Shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight – a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed…Shalom, in other words, "is the way things ought to be.”
Unfortunately, things aren’t yet the way they “ought to be.” In a recent report from the United Way of Central Indiana, food scarcity remains an issue for the residents of Boone County. Over 11% or 6,370 people in our county remain food insecure. Many of these hungry people are children. The need remains, things aren’t yet the way they ought to be, and so we continue to work.
Here at the Shalom House, our mission is to share kindness and good will with the Boone County community by feeding people and encouraging the spirit. Our vision is to feed our community so that one day no one will ever experience hunger.
It’s an ambitious mission with an even more grand vision. Can you imagine a day when no one in our community experiences hunger again? Can you imagine a day when children who attend local schools do not have to worry if they will have food during school breaks when school lunches are not served? Can you imagine a day when neighbors look out for neighbors, become friends, and encourage one another to use their gifts in service to the rest of their community? Can you imagine a day when things in Boone County are “the way they ought to be”?