June 2018 Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // Courtesy of Lebanon Community of Shalom The Lebanon Community of Shalom is a spirit-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to improve the quality of life of the citizens in Boone County. Shalom’s mission is to impact the people of Boone County by feeding bodies and encouraging the spirit. Its vision is to feed the community, so that one day, no one will ever experience hunger or food insecurity. The Shalom House, located in South Lebanon on the corner of West and Green Streets at 304 W. Green St., is where meals are prepared and served by volunteers on select days of the week to Boone County residents who are in need of a nutritious meal and fellowship. It is a volunteer-based organization with two part-time employees, Lisa Robison and Sharon DeLong, and a volunteer working board that include members such as Dr. James (Jim) Haines of Zionsville Eyecare and Zionsville resident Mary Grabianowski. Shalom does not receive any government funding or grants. The organization runs off the generosity of churches, civic groups, individual donations and businesses throughout Boone County. Shalom holds two annual fundraisers to raise awareness of the need in Boone County and money to support the Shalom House Hot Meals programs and Shalom Kid’s Sack Lunch program. The Shalom Kid’s Sack Lunch program distributes sack lunches to Boone County families with children who are food insecure during school breaks. Volunteers from throughout the county donate food, money and their time to pack and distribute meals. This program alone costs between $3,000-$5,000 per week. In a recent report from the United Way of Central Indiana, food scarcity remains an issue for the residents of Boone County. Over 11 percent, or 6,370 people, in our county remain food insecure. Many of these hungry people are children. Board president Grabianowski has helped organize and raise awareness of Shalom’s biggest annual fundraiser comprised of two events: the annual Shalom Garden Party held on a Friday evening and the Shalom Garden Tour that takes place on Saturday. Grabianowski kicked off the Shalom Garden Party last year and is hoping to create more awareness and attendance for this year’s evening event. “The Shalom Garden Party is on Friday, June 15 from 6-8 p.m. at Maplelawn Farmstead,” Grabianowski said. “Tickets for the Garden Party are $25, plus processing fees, if purchased online, and kids 12 and under are free. We will have live music, wine, beer, bottled water and hors d’ouvres. We will have games set up outside for families to play. Last year was so much fun. We had older adults sitting and listening to the music while sipping a glass of wine, and families were on the porch visiting with one another while the kids played. It was really neat. We had 75-100 attendees throughout the evening and are hoping to do better than that this year. Tickets for the Shalom Garden Tour on June 16 are $15 in advance and $18 the day of the Garden Tour. Kids 12 and under are free, and the Garden Tour runs from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. While we do send out solicitation letters and receive routine donations from area churches, these two events on this weekend represent our biggest fundraiser.” Grabianowski shared that the annual Shalom Garden Tour takes attendees on a tour of some of the most beautiful and inspiring gardens in the Lebanon and Thorntown areas. Lisa Williams, program coordinator at Shalom, is hopeful that these events will also raise awareness and compel folks to not only contribute with monetary donations but volunteer their time with Shalom’s programs. “We always need more volunteers. We are totally run by volunteers,” Williams emphasized. “I work just part-time, and we have two huge programs that require lots of people to help run, not to mention that we have monetary and food donations that are necessary to keep our programs operating. We get groups that also come in and help serve meals to our diners at Shalom House. Shalom House is set up as kind of a café or restaurant and is super welcoming. People come in and are given a seat, and we serve everything to the diners. They never have to get up for anything. We just want to take care of them while they are with us.” Please consider attending, donating or volunteering for the 2018 fundraisers. Contact Shalom at 765-891-9065 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on Shalom’s programs, volunteer opportunities and/or for ticket information. Tickets for both the Garden Party and Garden Tour are available online through eventbrite.com and can also be purchased at the Lebanon Public Library, Thorntown Public Library, Parkside Pharmacy, Zionsville Eyecare and Akard’s Hardware. All proceeds from both events fund the Shalom House and the Kid’s Sack Lunch Program.