A lot of people talk about rebuilding community pride. About how people cared for one another in the “old days.” How problems weren’t as difficult because everyone cared about each other. How they could always count on one another for help when they needed it. People talk about sharing what they had.

When they talked about sharing, it wasn’t just touchable things but those other immaterial things. Just spending some time with somebody, learning from each other, spiritual journeys, sharing experiences, stories, entertaining each other and just plain showing another human being that you know and appreciate the fact that they exist. At least this is part of what I remember. This is what I heard from the stories and, yes, complaints from the people older than me. How many times have you heard someone older complain that the closeness of the community is not the same today?

Not many people have the answers. As a matter of fact I haven’t heard of anyone having the answers. It seems that the technological rate of progress has left sociological progress back near the starting line.

Some people, though, are looking for answers. I’m not talking about the scientists or social workers but ordinary people just like you and me. When I was in the U.S., I came across one such experimental program that seems to be working. The reason why I say it seems to be working is that I’ve come across it again and again in my travels. People I talk to championed it. They were from all walks of life. They were those who sponsored it, participated in and benefitted from it. Pretty much all the community.

The idea is simple.

You, as a participant, give $13-15 dollars to this organization. Then you are required to do three to five hours of community work. After, you get about $50 worth of food. The work can be cleaning up the community, helping out an Elder, volunteer nursing, volunteering in the program (sorting and packaging food, handing it out, driving, etc.) or whatever the community needs. The person or organization that you’ve assisted signs your paper showing that you’ve worked. That’s when you take it to a central point where you pick up the food package.

A local Kiwanis/Lions Club/Chamber of Commerce/church group/etc. usually starts it up and provides administrative support.

Local municipalities, churches, businesses (local and non-local) and organizations sponsor it. One advantage that this program has is that they buy the food in bulk. This lowers costs of the food especially with program participants supplying free labour. So the overall cost to sponsors is minimal. Especially when you consider the $13-15 fee which participants paid. If you can get other communities to join in this program it becomes pretty much self-supporting.

All in all, it seems like a good idea. People get food and good feeling from helping out in some way their community. It brings together people from all walks of life that might not otherwise do things together. It makes your community a better place to live. I noticed that this program has been around a while and is growing. People like the aims of the program. Help people out, help the community out.

If you’re interested give me a call at The Nation (514) 272-3077. I’ll get some info to you.