This week we are talking about mending our neighborhoods and I love the idea of after we have reached out to our family that we are starting to reach out to others. I think the biggest thing to remember is to start small….it doesn’t need to overwhelm any of us. Just whatever you are doing this week, think of a small way it can be multiplied into something for someone else.
A Bread Story
My favorite bread recipe (it’s linked below) makes 2 loaves, so I usually double it and take 2 loaves to people who live around us. I am still making the bread for us, but I love being able to take bread around to surprise people in the neighborhood. It’s a tradition that started many years ago with the following story.
Quite a few years ago when my two oldest were very small I learned an important lesson. It was cold and snowy outside and it was in the middle of cold and flu season. And we were out of bread. And since I had a little one who was also sick with a cold I decided not to put everyone in the car and go to the store and that I would make some bread for the week.
I called my mom, got a good recipe and made my first two loaves of bread. While the bread was rising for the second time, I got the thought to take the second loaf to an older woman who lived one street over and kiddie-corner from my house.
Doubt came into my head. This was my first ever batch of bread–who knew if it would even taste good? Or it would rise properly? Or if I had made it correctly? Certainly not me…
But the thought would not leave. Take the bread to so-and-so.
So I did. And I stood at the door with warm bread as she opened it, apologizing that I had brought her some bread and that I didn’t even know if I had made it right.
She stood and looked back at me with tears in her eyes. What I hadn’t known was that she had been very, very sick with pneumonia. And the only thing that sounded good to her to eat was some homemade bread. And here I was on her door step with some warm bread.
I don’t think it was my best loaf ever. I know it wasn’t. But I think my efforts were appreciated. And I felt like I was a hand in something much bigger that day.
It’s a lesson I will never forget on reaching out to those around us.
So today we put together a list of some small and simple things to do to mend and reach out to others this week! 25 Ways to Mend your Neighborhood or Community
25 Ways to Mend your Neighborhood or Community
- Create a free book lending library in front of your house. It doesn’t have to be fancy (although someone in our neighborhood has built a darling little house)….but it would be great for both kids and adults to have some new books to read in quarantine. This site has tons of free plans to build one if you are into woodworking!
- Place cold water bottles or drinks out in a cooler for delivery drivers.
- Start a “good news” newsletter that you can pass out throughout your neighborhood with good news of babies, graduations and other summer happenings.
- Have a block party (I want to do this one…but not yet…after COVID 😉
- Sit on your front porch at night and wave to all your neighbors you haven’t seen in awhile.
- Pick up trash in gutters or open fields in your neighborhood.
- If you have a garden, open a free sharing “veggie stand.” A couple in our neighborhood does this and it’s so cute. This one built from ikea crates is genius!
- Mow or weed a neighbor’s yard without getting caught.
- Start documenting your street on a fb or ig account. Share the beauty of your surroundings. It could be a beautiful yard or a newly painted fence, share the beauty of what makes your community special.
- Plant a new tree or some new flowers for everyone to enjoy!
- Start a community project. I LOVE the idea of this chandelier tree that one community did in Los Angeles.
- Chalk your sidewalks with beautiful messages and art for the community to enjoy.
- Slow down when you drive! I would LOVE if all my neighbors and I did this—with so many children playing outside, one easy thing you can do is to slow down and watch for more children.
- Start a treat plate or treat bucket to pass around the neighborhood. (Not not a good idea for COVID but I wanted to keep it on here to remember for future times 😉
- Take a walk and talk to 2 new people. Simple but can be so rewarding for the soul.
- Go grocery shopping for a neighbor.
- Learn the names of everyone who lives on your street. As a result, you can greet people and even the kids when you are out and about.
- Take some cinnamon rolls to a new family on your street. HERE is one of the best tasting ones I have ever made.
- Leave notes of kindness on several neighbors’ doors this week.
- Drop a care package off to someone who may be going through a hard time.
- Bake some homemade bread for some neighbors. HERE is my favorite recipe.
- Over tip a server at your local restaurant.
- Use a talent or skill to do something for someone that they can’t do themselves. (Build a shelf, paint a wall, help move a piano…the possibilities are endless!)
- Clean out your closets and have a “free garage sale.”
- Clean out your pantry and donate food to a local food bank.