Even when the world feels chaotic and life gets tough, goodness can be found in kindness among strangers. One Front Porch Forum member recently shared a story about finding help and reassurance in an unexpected way.
A Vermont resident of only one year was on her way to her last cleaning account of the day. The MapQuest directions suggested a route across a narrow and chopped-up road. When rocks hit the undercarriage of the car and fears of a gas leak forced her to pull over, the distress added up. A truck driver stopped to assist and made sure the car was not leaking gas.
“You offered to call AAA for me as well. But since the car seemed fine, you went on your way. I made it to my clients house, then dropped my car off at my mechanic just in case, and made it home safely tonight. Now that my fears have settled a bit, I find myself feeling so thankful that you were there whoever you are. I wish I could say thank you to you personally. I was so caught up in my distress and tears that I didn’t thank you while you were there but I am feeling so grateful because you were an angel to me. I hope this reaches you. Thank you for your kindness and light heartedness. It made a world of difference.” • Ro F., Montpelier, Vt.
There are countless examples of neighbors helping neighbors on Front Porch Forum! See some recent examples of FPF members in need of specific items, resulting in a huge helping response from their neighbors!
“July 11, 2019: Hey Forum Fam!!!! Need a twin size or full size matress please!!! Just found a room to move into but looking for a bed. Low on cash since most my money will be toward the room. Let me know if y’all have any leads. Thanks!!!
July 13, 2019: The response to the mattress situation was astronomically great!!! I think the Forum is the best thing I’ve come across as far as people helping their community!!!” • David H., Montpelier, Vt.
“A few weeks ago, I posted an announcement about a baby boy who belongs to a young homeless couple that are “tenting” in Stowe. I asked for donations of baby items. The response was nothing short of amazing. This little boy who was born on May 3rd, he received so much love from members of our community. Diapers, formula, clothing, a stroller and so much more. Stowe Barber Shop is where he often hangs out. A rocking chair even made its way here and people waiting for haircuts will rock him and hold him. I just want everyone who contributed to know what a BLESSING you ARE!” • Regina C., Stowe, Vt.
Need some help finding an item or working on a project? In the spirit of sharing? Keep up with your local FPF!
From Anne Wallace Allen in VTDigger yesterday…
Jack Garvin, longtime manager of the Warren Store in the Mad River Valley, which sells gifts, housewares, craft beer and other items, said that like every store, his has a group of regulars who meet every morning for coffee. Apart from participating in a huge range of events, Garvin finds it helpful to advertise on Front Porch Forum (FPF), the online bulletin board.
“Regardless of how loyal your customers are — and they love the idea of having a country store in their town — when it comes to bottom line and looking at your wallet and looking at your disposable income, they’ll by and large go to the better deals,” Garvin said. But he added he can see through FPF analytics that his ads reach people outside the Mad River Valley.
“We don’t know how that translates into people walking in the door, but people are paying attention,” he said.
Front Porch Forum members reach out to help their neighbors affected by the Federal shutdown:
“This is a difficult time for some of our neighbors and we are ready to offer assistance. If you are affected, or you know any one affected by the “shut down” remind them, encourage them, tell them that food shelfs around the state are there to support them and they don’t have to worry about the cost of food in lieu of mortgage payments or gas for the car to get to work. We would be honored to help and support them. We are committed to helping our neighbors in need.“ • Ruthanne in Jeffersonville
“I own a home bakery and would like to offer families affected by the government shutdown free baked goods. I bake cookies, brownies, cakes and cupcakes, banana bread and other items.” • Alice in Fairfax
“People have offered to help me in making sure that everyone in our community who is suffering due to the govt. shutdown have the basic necessities they need. We are a small community in a small state, and we need to make sure that those in this community who need help with the basic necessities receive the help they need.” • Andi in Hardwick
“We know it isn’t much, but Green Rabbit wants to offer what we can… If any of you are feeling the financial crunch of missed paychecks due to the government shut down, please reach out to us. We are happy to deliver bread and/or a wholesome supper for your family.” • Suzanne in Waitsfield
“We would like to invite those government families who are currently not receiving wages to the food pantry. A large variety of fresh vegetables/fruit, and frozen and canned goods, staples (cereal, pasta etc.) will be available as well as meat and poultry, bread, eggs and cheese. We welcome the opportunity to be helpful to you as you navigate the government shutdown.” • Lori, State Representative in Essex
Our January Posting Flurry contest resulted in this wonderful story posted on FPF about community and helping our neighbors, with all the “feels”!
“Dan asked his teenage son and daughter if they would give him a hand. “Grab your toboggan, we’ll throw it in the truck”!
On his way to and from work, he had noticed that Mrs. Friendly’s woodpile had toppled over. She is 87, living alone and cooking and heating with wood. She says she always has, and she always will! She was a mentor to both of his children and they love her. She read to them at school.
The woodpile was too far from her house anyways and a snowstorm was about to hit the area. “Looking for a foot” she said when he called her.
Dan sat in his truck for an extra 5 minutes after talking to Mrs. Friendly and posted a request on Front Porch Forum for other helpers in the area, to help move and restack her wood. That evening when Dan and his teenagers arrived, eight other community members including three more teens, dressed in snow pants and boots, sneakers and some without gloves, pulling sleds of all kinds joined together in moving a cord of firewood. They stacked it on her porch and filled her many wood boxes inside. Dan said she begged us all to return for blueberry pie that next weekend. She said she had something to look forward to now, all toasty and warm and not worrying so much. “You better show up an eat my pies so the chickens don’t have to” she laughed.
It has now become a tradition for this same group to help her stack her winters wood. They check in on her, stop and visit, pick up groceries and her meds. She says she’s kinda glad her woodpile fell over, but mostly happy that Dan noticed and posted it “on that fancy phone of his”. Even when the kids come home from college they visit her. They bring “store bought pie” she complains.
Thank you FPF for making these kinds of things happen!!!” • Suzan in Marshfield
It’s witnessing these acts of neighborliness that has such an impact on FPF members.
“On a slushy, awful night, there was a grease fire in an apartment above Delish and The Quirky Pet. I got the call and rushed downtown to find our fire department walking through my wet shop as well as Delish where the water was literally crawling down the walls. This might sound trivial, but the concern they showed for the health and well being of my eleven parakeets in the aviary was extraordinary. All are healthy and present for because our fire department made sure my shop was powered up to remain warm and was smoke free before they left for the night. The same concern was shown for the well being of the dogs and cat in the apartments upstairs. Our fire fighters alongside my husband and me carried load after load of candy into my pet shop saving Delish’s livelihood. They didn’t have to join in on that.
It is really unfortunate that most of us don’t really notice the fire department until they are involved in a fire call. Montpelier’s fire department is a tightly run shop of really caring people who are very good at what they do. You don’t normally see them get mentioned in Front Porch Forum.
As a Montpelier business owner… and a resident of Montpelier as well, they have my heartfelt gratitude not only for what they did for Delish and my shop but for our upstairs residential neighbors as well on a very messy night weather-wise.” • Richard in Montpelier
A recent opinion piece in the New York Times had us reflecting on how Front Porch Forum works to bridge loneliness.
Photo credit: John Taggart for The New York Times
“Each of us can be happier, and America will start to heal when we become the kind neighbors and generous friends we wish we had.” • Arthur C. Brooks for the New York Times
FPF‘s community-centric framework has created a powerful norm of neighborliness that builds enduring social ties.
Front Porch Forum members can be very creative with their postings! Witness this humorous exchange:
“What a disgrace. I’ve never in my three years of living here been more disgusted with the State of Things. No more Battalion Stallion on the Country Store menu? Was there even a vote? Together we can right this wrong. Join me and the growing ranks of outraged citizens and help restore this town treasure to the once-great menu.” • Ben in Jericho
“As both creator and destroyer of the Battalion Stallion panini, I offer my deepest, most profound sympathy for the loss of your beloved sandwich. It indeed was a stalwart of our menu for many years here. It filled up many a weary traveler on his or her way to gastric heaven. Alas, along came newer sandwiches and the Stallion became a lost pony. But only the forgotten are truly lost, as they say. This is ‘Merica, and despite our differences we can find common ground. All it takes is a good conversation and a hilarious FPF post. So, although we won’t put it back on the menu, you can stop by or call and order it. We’ll make it for you! Long live the Stallion! Hooah.” • Jon at the Jericho Center Country Store