While winter is typically a time to hunker down and hibernate, it’s also a time that can be hard on our neighbors and their homes. Whether it’s fallen tree branches, a driveway that needs shoveling, or a frozen pipe emergency, or even a friendly social gathering, helping your neighbors cultivates trust and a close-knit community. When neighbors help neighbors I’m always reminded: we’re in this together. Take a peek at these ideas for helping neighbors during winter and then reach out!
Ideas for Helping Neighbors During Winter
- Host a soup night – one year during a particularly long stretch of snow and ice, my next door neighbors gathered us together and hosted “soup night.” We each brought our own recipe of soup, another couple baked fresh bread, and we sat around the warmth and the good food and talked. It was wonderful. It also gave us an opportunity to find out how things were going for our neighbors and if anyone needed anything.
- Neighbors would likely appreciate a car de-icing, driveway snow shovel, or even something as simple as bringing the mail or newspaper to their doorstep.
- Check on them! We had an elderly neighbor fall on her front porch during an icy spell, and she wasn’t able to get up. She wasn’t found for hours! We felt terrible, but it reminded us to take an extra moment out of our days to make sure our neighbors, especially the older folks among us, are ok. Lesson learned.
- Branches or debris? Help clear it, loan tools, or organize a work party to help take care of each other’s needs. Many hands make light work.
- Don’t forget about sidewalks and other walkways when it comes to clearing away snow and ice. One idea? On particularly slippery spots we put a scraper mat down over them. It allowed people to walk up to our front door without fear of falling. Scraper mats help keep your entry way clean, too. Scraper mats look like this:
- Make a plan to help – don’t wait for your neighbors to ask. When you hear that a storm is coming, reach out to the neighbors you know the best and get a plan together for helping each other and your other neighbors.
- Frozen pipes are a huge, expensive hassle if they burst. When you’re planning ahead for fall/winter, grab a few extra faucet covers and offer them to your neighbors who may not be as prepared as you. Faucet covers cost about $2.00 or less, and can prevent frozen pipes on your outdoor spigots.
- Share your salt! Rock salt is a good thing to have on hand, and if you know your neighbors need some for their icy spots, toss a few handfuls their way.
- Knock on their door with a Thermos of coffee or a bottle of wine and simply have a conversation. When it’s dark early, and people aren’t out and about as much, winter can be a lonely season. Sometimes simply showing up and talking can make a world of difference.
Welcome to the Community
Whether it’s you helping neighbors during winter by shoveling their snow, or it’s them helping you in summer by watering your plants while you’re away – good, trustworthy neighbors are worth their weight in gold. When a neighborhood becomes a community, it’s good for everyone!
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