Encouraging neighbors during tough times

March 27, 2020

Stay-at-home measures across the country are forcing us all to do life and business differently. Kids are remote learning, grocery runs are quickly in and out of the store and we’re all watching the news more than we may need to.

David and I are finding ways to add brighten up the neighborhood and we don’t just mean lights… though we are doing that! Indeed!

Here are a few ideas.

1. Conduct a storytime via Zoom

Using the group video chat software of your choice, connect with kids around the block or across the country. In this photo, I’m reading what used to be my boy’s favorite book, The Clumsy Crocodile, to 3 kids in Alabama.

Reading the Clumsy Crocodile

Their mom had set up a full-day readathon with an astronaut, a local library, and friends. The kids loved it.

2. Start a “Bear Hunt”

With all the families in your neighborhood out walking and riding bikes, put bears in front windows for them to find. Either stuffed or printed out, either works to keep everyone entertained.

We have also seen folks putting up hearts and messages.

Throw out ideas to your neighbors via text or social media.

People have been sharing this….

I posted a Bear Hunt in my neighborhood and it was exciting to see how many people instantly wanted to participate!

3. Share what you can

I have been on the lookout to share things we have in abundance.

Eggs with a nurse who doesn’t have time to jump in line for the supermarket. (She even dropped off a bottle of wine when she made the porch exchange! I look forward to sharing a bottle when we’re on the other side of COVID-19.)

As a family, this evening we’ll be dropping off some food for friends who just found out they are going to be affected by cutbacks. We have plenty of popcorn, beans, and fruit drink. Who doesn’t love popcorn?

Have an overabundance of peppers or squash? Share with neighbors what you can.

Consider posting a list on social media. Here is a list that we posted after our first helpful live cooking video with some suggestions on what to do to make days at home not so bad.

Who knew I had 3 bottles of Benedryl! I am always forgetting it and buying a new bottle when I travel.

Consider making two loaves of beer bread and sharing! Here is a quick video and recipe. See all of the ingredients here.

4. Christmas (or Easter) Lights

Do consider pulling out your Christmas lights and hanging a few – especially if they are low cost to operate LED strings out to brighten your block.

hDave has been putting lights back up when he can and just switched them from green to red, white, and blue. We think they are cheering folks up.

Please forgive the boxes and um… camp chair ….. we have actual lawn furniture in the backyard but you can’t wave at folks from the backyard.

These were lights that we had at the house. Open your stash and consider having fun with what you have.

Incandescent red, white, and blue C7 bulbs.

David also thought it was a great excuse to make a new blue tree with our flagpole.

We have all of our lights on a timer so they only stay on a couple of hours a night. Not too much of a load on our electric bill.

Shellie Gardner
Aside from throwing dinner parties that feature at least two kinds of cheese dip, Shellie's passions include travel, Mid-Century Modern furnishings and finding the perfect street taco. Has been known to snort laugh champagne.

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