On February 18, 2020, Nell Belanger of the Peace and Justice Network spoke to the Magnolia Rotary Club membership about her organization and what they do to help others in our community. Pictured above from left to right are Nell Belanger (Club Treasurer) and Jeanne Knapp (Board Member).
Chopin Kiang (Magnolia Rotary Club Member and member of the Peace & Justice Network) introduced Nell Belanger to the group. Chopin pointed out that although Nell is a retired CPA, she is involved in many organizations within Montgomery County that help the less fortunate. Nell also is a founding member and now treasurer of the Peace and Justice Organization that was started 14 years ago.
Nell told everyone that peace does not just mean free from a war going on but also it means that you are free to pursue personal goals and happiness. If an individual is not free from fear of where they will sleep tomorrow night or where their next meal is coming from then they are also not at peace. The need to try and bring some peace to people caught in an unfortunate situation is what caused the creation of the Peace and Justice Network.
Nell then told everyone that her organization is currently focused on two items that will help people achieve some peace. They are:
Art projects for children:
The idea is to spread ideas about peace through artwork from the children themselves. Local church and private organizations are used to gain access to the children. Then they ask children of all ages to draw their ideas about what peace tastes like, what peace sounds like and what peace looks like. Nell told everyone that most kids think of ice cream when asked what peace taste like. One little girl told her that peace sounds like the beating of the hearts of people who like each other. When asked what peace looks like, one boy drew a large black line in the middle of the paper and on one side he drew his mother and sister and on the other side he drew his father. The boy explained that peace occurs when their father is not home. Once all the drawings are completed, they post them for everyone to see during the month of September.
Helping the Homeless:
One of the things that prevents families from having peace is a place to call home. Many of these people can afford the rent and utilities but can never afford the down payment. This is where the Peace and Justice Network comes in; they pay the down payment on the subsidized apartments (up to $600.00). The Peace and Justice Network finds the people through the Interfaith of the Woodlands organization who interviews families that have this particular need.
Nell told everyone that their organizations depends on donations from local businesses and some individuals and they feel that they "do small things with great love" to help families in this situation. Nell told everyone that she also does tax returns for needy families without charge.
For more information, go to: http://www.peacejusticenetwork.org/.