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Category Archives: Neighborhood


Bowling alley idea catches fire on Front Porch Forum

A simple FPF post sparked a host of interest and a plan to bring new life to downtown Middlebury.
“Wondering if anyone is interested in opening a bowling alley in Middlebury?!” • Lerin P.

Front Porch Forum neighbors responded with a flood of excited posts echoing this sentiment, ultimately resulting in one business entrepreneur ready to pursue the idea.

“I’ve heard a number of times that folks would like to have a bowling alley, some night-life, something TO DO in Middlebury after the shops close. Well, I have a plan to accomplish all these wishes.”  • Scott G.

Now there are construction plans of a classic, all-ages source of fun – a bowling alley – in the previous home of the Ben Franklin store.

Read more in an article from The Middlebury Campus.

We’re inspired by this story to build community which started with a simple post on FPF.





Vermonters help Federal workers during shutdown

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

 


Grab Your Toboggan

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


More Neighborly Communities

Front Porch Forum members report closer-knit communities.

“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.” ― Fred Rogers of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood

Lynn A. of Montpelier, Vt. says Front Porch Forum: discovering Vermont’s neighborly spirit, one glorious post at a time.”

FPF members report knowing and trusting more of their neighbors than national averages, resulting in closer-knit communities. Neighbors who know each other are more likely to lend a hand in times of need, whether it be loaning a pressure canner, larger-scaled community projects like organizing a foodbank, or emergency efforts.

FPF co-founder Michael Wood-Lewis shares that “when neighbors know each other and offer help or advice among each other, social capital accrues. FPF fosters real connections throughout networks of neighbors, and those ties bring genuine value to a community. Why buy a new ladder when you can borrow one from a neighbor?”

Front Porch Forum is a place where folks can learn their neighbors’ names and share hopes for the community and perspectives on local issues. The forum enables participants to familiarize and become informed online so that they can get out and have face-to-face discussions and take action offline. The result: optimism, unity, trust, and helping one another.

Stephanie Teleen, Neighbors Day VT organizer, uses Front Porch Forum to get the word out. She says “there are a few things you can count on in Vermont: beautiful scenery, ample snow, and Front Porch Forum. When Vermont became the first state in the country to celebrate Neighbor’s Day on June 2, 2018, FPF was the first and only statewide organization to help promote this event. Why? Because FPF knows the value of personal connection and communication within our communities. Neighbors Day happens once a year, but FPF works to connect neighbors every day, all year long. FPF is like a digital potluck with no cooking required! Being neighborly is paid forward in Vermont… to everyone’s benefit..”

*The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded an independent third-party, Network Impact, to design, implement and analyze an online survey of 132,188 Front Porch Forum members in March 2017. 13,086 Vermonters completed this 20-minute survey. With a 99% confidence level, the survey results represent the full FPF membership.

**2015 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation National Survey of Health Attitudes



Helping our neighbors after snow storms

With winter storm Bruce hitting New England, Front Porch Forum members prepare to help

“I came across one of our elderly neighbors out shoveling by hand and having a hard go of it. I stopped to meet her and finish it up for her, and she was lamenting that none of her neighbors who she’s known for many many years offered to help, even the ones with snowblowers. I asked if she was on FPF and she reported she didn’t have a computer or internet. We had a nice talk while we worked together, about her church and spiritual understanding, and community and our collective cultural woes as we all retreat more and more behind our screens.

It was a sweet connection, and I felt well paid by the companionship and exercise. So now I’m back home behind my screen again, reaching out to my neighbors and inviting you all to come out after storms, and see what we can do together to help out our neighbors!  • Ark in So. Burlington