The staff at FPF was touched to rediscover this 2006 Seven Days article titled “Front Porch Forum Encourages Neighborliness — Online and Off.” It’s heartening to see how far Front Porch Forum has come over 14 years.
The article explains how FPF got started. At the time it was written, co-founder Michael Wood-Lewis compiled e-newsletters alone.
“Though Wood-Lewis is currently working on FPF as a volunteer, he sees his time as an investment. He’s hoping that as the service expands, he’ll be able to find local businesses to sponsor it.”
Now the organization has a growing staff of 22. It’s been put to use in communities all over the state, and now serves parts of New York and Williamstown, Massachusetts. The look and feel of the Email Forum has been redesigned and members can now also read their Forum via mobile app and the website.
Check out the full piece for an awesome throwback (complete with a MySpace reference!)
Even though this year has been full of challenges the likes of which we’ve never seen before, many folks on Front Porch Forum are finding a plethora of things to be grateful for. Indeed, an attitude of gratitude can make the darker times seem much brighter. Check out what some of our neighbors have had to say during this time of thanks:
“Hey you. Yeah YOU!!! 2020 gave you every reason to not be thankful. It threw everything at you yet here you are reading this. Thank you to all the essential workers from doctors and nurses, to farmers, to the kid bagging your groceries, you putting yourself at risk so we can have some semblance of normalcy is greatly appreciated and does not go unnoticed. Thank you to this community who stick together and help each other despite adversity. All storms end eventually and we will come out of all this stronger. Happy Thanksgiving” – R. in Stowe
“FPF has been a faithful and trusted organization for us all and especially important during this challenging time.” – L. in So. Burlington
“I am beyond grateful for this beautiful Valley in which I can enjoy the clean air outdoors, walk on hillsides that take my breath away with my dog and husband and enjoy delicious, local foods.” -L. in Mad River Valley
“It would be an even more disconnected world than it already is without FPF to tie our neighborhoods together.” ““ J. in Charlotte
“Been living in this home since 1960. Have enjoyed the neighborhood, but recently have come to appreciate the neighbors as never before. With the Pandemic, neighbors have offered, and delivered food and help. One neighbor has taken over my hobby of picking up the trash along the roadside, beer cans, etc., that I decided not to do anymore. I think I saw her/him on the road Sat. afternoon, and checked it out Sunday, trash is gone! Yes, We like it here. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.” – A. in East Hardwick
Share what you are grateful for this year with your neighbors on FPF.
Neighbors show their support of Vermont small businesses on FPF.
“I was on a call this week in which the somber fact of our local businesses on the brink of failure was very apparent. Many of our local sandwich shops, bars and restaurants are in dire need of support and are looking at the possibility of having to close down for good bc of the financial situation they are in. I was going to suggest we all try and support a “Take out Tuesday” (because A. Takeout sounded best with Tuesday and B. this would include all our eateries whether they were serving in their location or just doing take out), but realize many of our local spots aren’t open on Tuesdays. Therefore, I suggest we all try and go out to eat or get food to go from our local eateries that aren’t serving in house at least once a weekday when they need our support the most. Without our help, many of the local establishments that you love are not going to make it through this winter. Help out your neighbor, friend, or local business owner now, so that we may have the chance to enjoy them after this mess is over with. We all have a part in our local businesses success.
This also applies to our local independent shops as well. Please think of them with the upcoming holiday season and shop local this year!” • Bob in Stowe
Share local dining/take-out options and gift ideas on Front Porch Forum.
We couldn’t resist sharing this story shared on Front Porch Forum. A unique way to “pay it forward.”
“Something amazing happened to us tonight. We went out to dinner to celebrate our 51st wedding anniversary. We had a very nice meal which we very much enjoyed. When we asked for the check the waitress said that she had heard us say that it was our 51st anniversary. A frequent customer of their’s had called in and asked that, in memory of his son who would have been 24 today, the restaurant choose a customer celebrating something of consequence, and he would pick up the bill! So we had a very nice dinner capped off by this man’s thoughtfulness! We, of course, paid the waitress a tip for 20% of what the bill would have been and asked the hostess if she could give us our benefactors name and telephone. She did so and we called him as soon as we got home and thanked him. We also decided that this was such a nice thing to do that we will “pay it forward” and do the same thing in future every year on our anniversary to honor our long deceased parents and their anniversaries.” • John in East Hardwick
Have your own examples of “Paying it Forward?” Post them on FPF!
With help from thousands of Front Porch Forum members… we made it! Thanks to everyone who chipped in to reach FPF’s October Supporting Member Campaign goal. These dollars will fund FPF operations in the months ahead.
Also, following through on our promise, FPF will donate $10,000 to the Vermont Covid-19 Response Fund (of the Vermont Community Foundation), which will benefit many nonprofits that provide services to Vermonters in need.
If you meant to donate to FPF and haven’t yet had a chance, there’s still time. Please give today!
FPF is a Public Benefit Corporation and not a charity. Contributions are not tax deductible.
Beloved pets find their way home on FPF!
“Lost dog Maisy has come home! Thanks to everyone who reported sightings and inquired about her. I sure do appreciate our community and Front Porch Forum!” • Cindy in Barre
“I am absolutely amazed by the kindness and compassion of our neighborhoods. Twice now FPF has gotten the word out and you all took the time to post sightings, take care of and help our cat Honi get back home.” • Kim in Colchester
“Thank you to all who played a part in getting Teeko home safe and sound, but especially to Front Porch Forum for providing this format. I am forever grateful.” • Winnie in Middletown Springs
“7 year old and her beloved kitty have been reunited! Always amazing resource FPF!! It takes a village, so proud and appreciative of ours.” • Nancy in Shelburne
“Because two residents cared enough about a stray cat and posted their sightings on FPF, we have our beloved cat, Star, back home following a three week adventure.” • Eric in Morristown
“Many thanks to all the folks who helped amazingly resilient Naddy the Doberman to get home. What a helpful resource FPF is and how great it is to have such responsive and caring neighbors!” • Lee in Underhill
“Thank you so much to the fine people whom sighted, reported on, and protected my very lost, cold, and scared dog last night. I am so grateful to Front Porch Forum and to dog lovers everywhere who look out for our beloved pets and help get them home.” • Susan in Charlotte
Vermonters have put Front Porch Forum to work during the pandemic like we’ve never seen before. New member growth is through the roof. Posting quantity is way up. Public officials and nonprofit leaders are sharing critical information. Local businesses are finding new customers. And neighbor-helping-neighbor stories are piling up faster than ever.
To continue working on our community-building mission and providing our essential civic service to every town we serve, we need to raise $100,000 statewide from our members by this Thursday, October 29. Please donate today.
In this same spirit of coming together during crisis, FPF pledges — if we reach our goal — to contribute $10,000 to the Vermont Covid-19 Response Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation. This fund is designed to support nonprofits that are particularly equipped to address community impacts of the spread of Covid-19.
If you are in the position to donate to FPF now, please do. We’re eager to keep FPF going strong and to support other critical pandemic-response work. We need your help to get there.
Please give today: https://frontporchforum.com/supporting-members
Front Porch Forum’s growing staff
Aaron, Emily, Emily, Gisele, Hilary, Jason, Jodi, Jonna, Linda, Lynn, Maddy, Matt, Michael, Natanya, Nina, Noah, Renee, Sarah, Suzie, Valerie, Wendy, Zach
FPF is a Public Benefit Corporation and not a charity. Contributions are not tax deductible. Ad sales to local businesses cover most of our expenses, and your Supporting Member contribution helps close the gap.
While we prefer online donations by credit card or PayPal, we also accept payment by check, with gratitude, at:
Front Porch Forum
PO Box 73
Westford, VT 05494-0073