An interview with Gloria Contreras Edin, Chair of the Neighbors Board of Directors.

How did you become involved with Neighbors?

In 2016, I was invited to be on the board of directors by a friend from Rotary. When asked, I immediately jumped at the invitation, as I considered it an honor to be able to serve this well-respected organization. Since then, I’ve had no regrets giving of my time and treasures to Neighbors. I consider it an investment in our community as a resident of Inver Grove Heights.

Why is Neighbors work important to you – both as a volunteer and as a donor?

Neighbors is important to me as a volunteer because it has a great reputation for doing good in our community. Neighbors is also a good steward of my resources. I feel that my time and gifts are valued and cared for by the organization. I also appreciate the work that Neighbors does for individuals who are less fortunate. I was once a young teen mother and a high school dropout who was on welfare. I used food shelves and clothing closets to get me through some tough times. I am so incredibly thankful that I can now pay it forward and change the lives of those less fortunate.

What advice do you have for others who might be considering giving in the way that you do?

My advice to anyone who considers giving their time, treasure or talent is to do it with all of your heart. Giving without heart and without love for those who are less fortunate is not as fun. Seeing the light of someone’s face change with a simple gift, a bag of food or a warm coat is priceless.

How would you describe Neighbors’ impact in the community?

Neighbors is a beacon of light and hope for so many individuals in our community.  Neighbors brings hope for a better tomorrow through the gift of food, clothing, transportation or temporary financial support to pay a utility bill. Neighbors’ impact in addressing poverty in our community is done through the day-to-day presence of being at the forefront for those who are in need, one person at a time. For nearly 50 years, Neighbors has made been making small but sustainable changes to impact a community and to make it a better place to live.

Photo of Gloria and friends at a holiday reception benefit for Neighbors which she hosted.