Today there’s been a pretty sad photo going around Facebook, a really hateful letter from one neighbour to another about their child. I think it’s easy to read a letter like that and extrapolate that into a judgement of our culture and where it might seem to be going. And so I’d like to share some neighbourly interactions submitted by folks like you who made pledges to this project over the past couple of years:
Sharing Seeds: “I will share some organic seeds from my garden with friends and neighbors and will share food with our food bank. – Pledge #12, Afton, New York, USA”
Handmade Sharing: Over this next week, I’ll have shared the joys of tablet weaving with make-and-take projects as part of Black Sheep Handweavers Guild’s workshops-in-the-corners night, brought yarn and things to the yarn swap at Purlescence Yarns in conjunction with the last day of this session of Spin U, Sandi Luck’s technical spinning course, And I’m bringing jam to my next door neighbor in celebration of where his guava and lemon trees lean generously over the fence… – Pledge #8, San Jose, California, USA
Next Door: “Our family will make sure we visit our newly widowed neighbour at least once a week to make sure she is doing well and help out whenever we can. – Pledge #380, Barrie, Ontario, Canada”
Being There: “As a way to begin – tomorrow, I will go to the local cafe and buy a coffee for a neighbour, whether I know them or not. I will then drive for four hours and be present and available to my family on the day of my beloved uncle’s funeral. I know that nothing is better in times of grief than to find kindness and compassion to usher in what strength and love may attend. But it will start with just buying someone a coffee. Maybe that will be a good start for their day too. – Pledge #79, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Soup: “I will make soup and bread this weekend to give to a few neighbours who have small children. – Pledge #71, Essex, UK”
Love Thy Neighbour: “Every day I try and help my neighbor who is 94, shes my blessing..Every Thursday she gets all excited because she knows we are going shopping, doesn’t matter how long it takes. I make sure she gets to look at every thing she wants and she can be all day and I want her to enjoy the one day she can get out and be active.I help her do everything, Love Thy Neighbor…I pray some day when I get older and need someone there for me that God will see my need and send me someone to. I learn so much from her, sometimes people dont appreciate older people but remember we all have history to share and I love all her stories about her life and I also learn so many things from her, I pray too if I live to be 94 I have a alert mind as she has..she remembers things I forget..so pls always help when u can we need to reap what we sew and our rewards will be plentiful.♥ – Pledge #327 – Daphne, AL”
Neighbours Helping Neighbours: “I will pick up trash in my neighborhood, and will enlist the help of my 14 year old son. We do this regularly anyway, but this time we will also knock on doors of a few elderly neighbors and inquire if there is anything special we could do for them in the way of hauling off or picking up trash items. – Pledge #158, Fort Payne, Alabama”
Feeding a Friend: ““We have really good friends who live in our neighborhood, who are self employed, and struggling this year. They’re awesome people, but aren’t always good at setting boundaries, and end up spending more time on our local church than they should, etc., always finding non-monetary ways to contribute to the community.
I’m being kind to my friends’ stomachs.
Icing on the Cake: ““I’m going to make an extra cake this week and take it round to my neighbour. – Pledge #47, United Kingdom”
Cherry Tomatoes: “I will share my abundant sweet and delicious cherry tomatoes with my neighbours and friends.
– Pledge #24, Toronto, Ontario, Canada”
Learning English: “I will help my new neighbour from Poland to learn to speak English. – Pledge #23, United Kingdom”
Picking Fruit: “I have fruit trees in my garden and this year we had masses of fruit. I didn’t think anything of it until I saw this on Facebook earlier today. So I packed boxes of fruit and gave it to my neighbours. – Pledge #20, Toronto, Ontario, Canada”
Morning Train: “I pick up a neighbor at the train station and drop him at his house every week. – Pledge #406, Highland, New York, USA”
Freshly Mowed Lawn: “I’m a single woman and I know how hard it is to keep a home alone. Yesterday, I mowed the yards of two single neighbors so it would be one less thing they’d have to worry about doing this weekend. – Pledge #378, Cumming, Georgia, USA”
I love to cook, but there are only two of us, so when I make soups or stews, it’s always a fine line between “enough for leftovers” and “I never want to see this food again.”
Therefore, I’ve begun setting aside a quart container (the plastic containers that the frou-frou soup comes in at the grocery store (I like their clam chowder) or yogurt containers, or whatever) and filling it for them every time I make anything in a large batch.
It stretches their grocery budget a bit, especially at the end of a month when they’re living on peanut butter and ramen, and helps ME, too, because I’m not wasting food.
I COULD, of course, learn to make smaller quantities, but when one of them stops by to pick up soup, we often sit for a cup of tea, allowing them to de-stress, since when you work from home, leaving the office isn’t always possible. – Pledge #141, Bozeman, Montana”
Good Neighbours: ““I have a new neighbor in the house across the street this week. The original neighbor is in California, and for the past year I’ve been raking her leaves, shoveling her driveway/sidewalk, collecting mail and flyers, moving stuff around a bit to make it look lived in. I plan to bake cookies for the new neighbor and let him know we’d be happy to lend out tools or supplies if he needs anything while getting settled (those important items always seem to be at the bottom of the last box unpacked!) – Pledge #131, Toronto, Canada”
Yard Cleanup: ” I will help my neighbor clean up his property. Regardless of the fact that I benefit too from him having a cleaner yard, he’s overwhelmed with all his junk, I’ve got a truck to help him haul it away, and the time to help him. – Pledge #12, Tennessee”
Sharing Tea with a Neighbour: “My neighbour’s Mom passed last week in Vancouver, (we live in Vernon) Her sister is not having a gathering of any sort, and asked her not to travel to Vancouver…so the plan is to have a tea here for her Mom. Our neighbour has some physical challenges. I will clean her house and supply some set-up skills, so her church friends can have a lovely afternoon. I often share a portion of supper with neighbours who are single and need a proper meal, and I always give my Dad my undivided attention. I have never bought into black friday, and everyday is a good day to share. – Pledge #15, Vernon, British Columbia, Canada”
Family Thanksgiving: “Something really nice happened today. A customer came through my line with a turkey, some veggies, stuffing and some gravy. I informed him if he just spent $5 dollars more, he would get a discount on his turkey. He told me,”no that’s ok, I am buying this for my neighbour, who is down on his luck and having a bad year. I am going to bring it by his house as a surprise, so he can celebrate Thanksgiving with his wife and family”. – Pledge #29, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA”