We love this idea undertaken by Front Porch Forum members. Doing something good for the environment and building social contacts!
“Do you need something fixed? Come to the first ever Repair Cafe. Start collecting your household items to be fixed at this FREE event. We have fixers willing to work on watches and replace watch batteries, bicycles, clothing, knitting projects, electric appliances, small office equipment, furniture, small engines, lamps, tools (including sharpening) and electrical gadgets. And we even have someone willing to tutor you with your smart phone!” • Cathy in Charlotte
“One of the “fixperts” reinforced my eyeglass frames. This may save me having to buy a whole new pair of frames (very expensive!). Thank you. What a wonderful event!” • Lucy in Plainfield
“I was fortunate to have a loose jacket zipper secured, a broken hoe handle extracted, a few pair of earrings brought back to life and iPhone issues resolved. I witnessed holes in sweaters and coats mended; a chainsaw, sewing machines and lamps fixed; and blades sharpened and that was just in the short hour I was there. What a great event to connect with community members while bringing back to life items that would have been needlessly discarded.” • Judy in Charlotte
Here’s how you can do the same in your neighborhood:
- Post to organize several neighbors to volunteer making repairs. Suggest the idea of a “Repair Cafe” and seek a place to hold the event.
- Post an announcement two weeks prior to the event to invite neighbors in need of repairs AND to encourage volunteer help.
- Post a reminder message three days before.
- Choose the “Event” category so that your posting also shows up in the FPF Community Calendar.
- Check the share box to include neighboring towns.
“Repair is possible, and often not that difficult, with a little bit of community support.” — The Repair Café Foundation
Front Porch Forum members reach out to their neighbors to come together in their community:
“If you are looking for more plants for your garden, come to the Neighborhood Plant Swap! This is a free plant give-away, neighbor to neighbor.” • Melanie in Burlington
“Join your friends, neighbors, and fellow residents to share YOUR vision for the future of our town. The Vermont Council on Rural Development will facilitate a Community Visit Day to ask ALL residents about opportunities, challenges, and ideas for action for the community.” • Pat in Wallingford
“There have been discussions regarding a community center to serve the needs of our diverse population. Perhaps you’d like to participate in such a conversation? If yes please get back to me through this forum and we’ll see where it leads.” • Rolf in Hinesburg
“Any other new moms/parents out there interested in getting together to share parenting advice and ideas or just have a cup of coffee with babies in tow?” • Anna in Bristol
“Looking to meet other working professionals in their 20’s-30’s. Take turns hosting potlucks with different themes?” • Laura in Waterbury
“Wouldn’t it be fun to have a series of story-telling events? We’d hear stories from our friends, neighbors, family and strangers: real people, telling true stories from the heart. A great way to build community spirit and get to know each other better.” • Sherril in Randolph
Have an idea to connect with your neighbors? Reach out on FPF!
Front Porch Forum members spend time connecting with their neighbors in person.
“Waiting at the DMV I met Mr Congeniality himself: 4-year old Isaac. He and I quickly struck up a friendly conversation. He was thoughtful and creative and funny. And to be honest, I’ve had a pretty crummy week otherwise, but chatting with that bright-eyed kid was a lovely distraction.” • Morgen in Montpelier
“Let’s start being more real, more in-person. Stop living so much of life in cyberspace. Commit to replacing some screen time with real time. Quality time. Our world will be better as a result of every in-person connection we have.” • John in Barre
“With all the sad news happening around the world, I just feel the strong desire to spread happiness & positivity, and Front Porch Forum seems the perfect place to do it!” • Elaine in Northfield
Feel free to continue spreading happiness on FPF!
We’ve been witnessing a number of good acts happening these days!
“Our lost keys were found and returned thanks to a post on Front Porch Forum. This isn’t the first time that lost items were returned to us via FPF. Thanks to all our neighbors for making this such a great place to live!” • Amy in Winooski
“I would like to send out many thanks to Front Porch Forum for making it possible to be reunited with my lost chainsaw & equipment. FPF has once again showed to me why it is a valuable community electronic bulletin board.” • Ben in Worcester
“So grateful for honest people in our community to return stuff when found to the right owner! Just saying!” • Hilda in Montpelier
“Thanks to the kind folks who responded to my post yesterday and to the individual who placed my mitten safely on a fence post! FPF is a wonderful community tool!” • Rosemeryl in Jericho
Alert your neighbors if you’ve lost or found something on Front Porch Forum!
“What an amazing community we all live within! Thank you very much to the dozens of people who offered Penguin the hen a home after the fisher cat attack on her coop. She is now happily ensconced in a neighbor’s coop, and I feel very happily ensconced among this amazingly generous and caring community.”
• Zoe in Underhill
FPF’s recent survey shows that 89% of respondents say their neighbors help others. How true!
“This has been a real tough winter for streets and sidewalks. The weather is soon to get warmer and DPW crews are already filling in the worst potholes. But… there are miles of street. They need the public to act as their eyes. DPW reads FPF and the hazards you identify will get filled in.
Lets start a thread that results in the top offenders identified and addressed ASAP. I reported the pothole that shakes shocks as well as the significant dip in front of the library that savvy drivers try to dodge. Please post the street and block of your nominee(s) so that DPW crews can get to it sooner than later. Help us all out.” • Richard in Montpelier
“The Duxbury Selectboard in partnership with our Highway Foreman, will be sharing updates about road work, conditions, equipment updates and crew news to help keep everyone informed about what’s happening on our town roads.” • Erin in Duxbury
Front Porch Forum members also share their thanks to town road crews:
“The road crews have had a crazy winter to deal with! Snow, ice, mud, repeat…Potholes, frozen culverts, flooding. They do what they have to do every day …Thanks to all for your determination everyday.” • Richard in Hyde Park
“Thank you for sending the plow truck this am – it was appreciated!!” • Sharon in Argyle
A recent article from the Times Argus highlights findings from FPF survey work done in 2017.
“Members of Front Porch Forum, who are not anonymous and make a commitment to be part of the online community, are comforted by the engagement of others. Perhaps at a time when contention is rampant, the sense of community, even online, is enough of a connection for members to feel a level of comfort and trust.
Community building takes various forms, whether that be public suppers, music, theater or meetings and discussion groups. Vermonters have always taken great pride in being good neighbors. Now we can take stock in knowing that being part of the community, even online, has merits that go far beyond chasing down lost dogs or finding a place to stay for a friend. It still means we connect.”
To read more, visit https://www.timesargus.com/articles/a-matter-of-trust/
FPF friend and journalist
“Neighbors were optional for much of the last 50 years. We became hyper-individualists—surveys show that three-quarters of Americans have no relationship with their next-door neighbors, which is a novel situation for humans. But in the next 50 years, we’re going to need our neighbors again. The fat years are past and the lean years are upon us—even as we try to rebuild our planet against the predations of the rich and powerful, we’re going to require stronger communities for sheer survival. Ask the people trying to recover from Hurricane Harvey, from Maria, from the firestorm that raked California.” –
This speaks to our work. Hosting Front Porch Forum across Vermont over the past decade, we’ve seen the value of neighbors during and after natural disasters and other crises.
Build your local networks of neighbors now, and then you’ll have that investment in social capital to fall back on in times of need in the future.
Neighbors reach out through FPF to help a family:
“When we posted a request for help for a family of four, many people came through right away. Today we were able to deliver a mattress, a dresser, and a chair to them. They are very grateful. And, we are thankful for this generous community. Front Porch Forum is great.”
• Margaret and George in Middlebury
Know someone who could use a helpful hand? Turn to your neighbors on FPF!
Recent fires, while tragic, also remind us how generous our communities can be helping those in need. FPF members respond:
“The fire at my home took almost everything from me. Despite my losses, I will be able to remember it as one of the most uplifting moments as well due to the outpouring of generosity, kindness, and love from the Montpelier Community. Never have I felt more cared for, or supported.” • Lauren in Montpelier
“Big Thanks to all the folks who worked their frozen fingers to the bone making it possible to save our store, library and community. If you see or know a Fire department Volunteer, please share your gratitude for keeping our town/village intact. This includes our Village and town employees as well. Thanks to all of you who reached out, stepped up, and pitched in; it’s what makes our town resilient and a place we want to live.” • Kim in Johnson
Front Porch Forum members respond to a call for help for a family who’s house was completely destroyed:
“I would like to thank everyone for the tremendous generosity and support. Knowing the love and support the community has shown is greatly helping them through this tragic time. Let us use this as a reminder to always reach out and help our neighbors.”
• Heidi in Monkton