I’ve lived in my neighborhood for three years, and I have gotten closer to my neighbors in the past two weeks than ever before. Ironically, at a time that we’re all physically distancing ourselves, we’re coming together to support each other however we can.
Typically, it seems like those in our community are quick to point out the worst in each other. Who’s yard is full of weeds, who was driving too fast, who didn’t pull their trash cans up, the usual bicker about HOAs.
Now that we have all been thrust into a really difficult challenge together, I am so encouraged by the way people are spreading love to one another. I’ve seen multiple posts on our NextDoor app that sounds like spouses texting each other, “Hey, I’m heading to the store, what are ya’ll looking for today? I’ll see if they have it.” When one neighbor responded, ”I really need distilled water for a medical machine my dad needs,” people in the community were quick to offer up from their own supply what couldn’t be found at the store.
Besides helping one another to sort through the chaos in grocery stores, communities have come together in big ways to help cheer each other up, especially the kids who have had their whole routine shaken up. Here are some of the creative ways they’re doing so.
Putting Up Lights
I haven’t seen it much in my own hood, but rumor has it people are putting up their holiday lights to brighten spirits. I know that would cheer me up!
Starting a Teddy-Bear Hunt
Families are putting teddy-bears in their windows, so children walking the neighborhood can go on a bear hunt. Many families will move the bear each day, to make it fun for the children hiding the bear and seeking it!
Another two-for-one (entertaining the kids and spreading cheer) is decorating sidewalks and driveways. A secret somebody in our neighborhood wrote positive messages every block or so, and it’s so encouraging to see when we go for walks.
Starting a Food Swap
Some communities are leaving little crates on their porches, or by the mailboxes, with canned goods. People can leave what they want, and take what they need.
Supporting Small Businesses in the Community
If your community has an online group or app, I encourage you to reach out and ask how you can support small business owners in an effort to help them keep their “doors open”. Or, create a place you can share tips or links for job openings. In my neighborhood, a woman shared that she was taking cookie orders, to have a little income while she was home. She was flooded with orders. Then, when she discovered that one neighbor had placed a large order to give to local hospital staff, she gave her the cookies free of charge. It’s interactions like this one that give me hope. There is so much good in our world.
Decorate Your Windows
Somewhere in the world, a trend started #frommywindow children are decorating their windows and sharing uplifting messages for other children to see when they’re playing outside. On ours, my daughter wrote “love is permanent.”
Community Art Board
Leave a pallet or large easel in a community spot, like the mailboxes or community center where people can place notes and letters or artwork for each other.
Who could have ever imagined a time that everyone was learning from home, and libraries were closed? I love the idea to place some books you are ready to part with in a tote near a public place, and leave a note to “take a book and leave a book”. It might be a good idea to leave some disinfectant wipes with the books too, give them a little rub down before bringing it into your home!
We’re all in this together, and we will get through it…together.
What are some ways your community is helping each other out from afar?