Gather friends and neighbors
Toni and Clay Moore
Toni Moore and her husband, Clay, have lived in the same east Broken Arrow neighborhood for 24 years. When the pandemic hit in early 2020, Toni was determined to stay connected to the people around her.
“Isolation is not helpful in those situations, but I was also concerned about keeping people safe,” she recalls, opting for outdoor gatherings at the time. That’s when she came up with Neighbor Night. Once a month, to this day, she gathers with her neighbors in her front yard for community.
Toni is also president and CEO of Hospitality House, which provides a compassionate, affordable place for families to stay during a medical crisis away from home. Though separate from Neighbor Night, the inspiration behind both is the same.
“I want the night to be about conversation and relationships,” she says. “I truly wanted people to get face to face … and have conversations that are encouraging, helpful and kind. It’s what makes a neighborhood work.”
Along with the chairs and firepit the Moores set up, Toni decorates with pineapples — a symbol that dates to the 1700s in America representing welcome and hospitality. And during the summer months, visitors are treated to Clay’s homemade ice cream. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and their drink of choice.
Now she’s encouraging others to do the same. Toni says the setup doesn’t have to be elaborate — she recommends using a front porch or front yard, as it’s the most visible place to gather. There’s no agenda besides just getting to know one another. Toni suggests creating a neighborhood Facebook group and making simple signs to stick in strategic neighborhood spots to remind neighbors of the upcoming event.
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