A famous quote first attributed to Harry S. Truman has resonated with many people during this current economic downturn: “It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job. It’s a depression when you lose your own.”
While it’s certainly true that many people worry about how financial instability will affect their personal bottom-line, economic storms can also provide the perfect opportunity to reach out to your surrounding community in an effort to help those who may be struggling around you. In every neighborhood around the world, we can offer assistance to each other—helping everyone involved to grow closer through a shared sense of community.
Here are several simple ways in which you can help those around you in times when money is tight for everyone:
Stay Connected: Many people have a tendency to withdraw from others when they experience personal hardship—which is why networking within your community is so important. Developing relationships with those around you will not only make sure that you’re up-to-date on any neighborhood happenings; they can alert you to the situations of those who are in need and how to help.
Offer to Share: Many times when money is tight it’s hard for people to ask for what they need. You can always offer to share anything you have more than enough of; you never know when someone else might need it.
Offer Your Time: If you are short on resources yourself, it’s never a bad idea to find organizations within your community to offer your time—especially if you’ve got plenty to spare after losing a job. Volunteering won’t just help fill in the gaps in your resume; it pays in the reward of lifting spirits of those around you.
Check in with the Elderly: Many times people whose income is fixed suffer the most when the stock-market plummets. Check in with those around you who are retired to ensure they’re still able to take care of themselves and offer any help you can with transportation or applying for social services.
Watch over Foreclosed Housing: A neighborhood effort to watch abandoned properties will help ensure that the deteriorating condition of foreclosed housing or vandalism doesn’t further damage the average property value. Be sure to report any suspicious activities occurring on or around foreclosed housing to the local authorities to help keep crime levels down in your neighborhood.
Reaching out to others doesn’t always take a lot of time or money, just a little bit of effort can show others you care. You never know how far showing some concern will go—next time you’re in need there might be someone you know willing and ready to help you.
by World Barrios Contributor: Kate Pesich
Circle of Neighbors by Artist: Leanna Cruz