Neighborly Labor Co-Op

Neighborly Labor Co-Op

volunteer help

Many of us have had times where we had projects at home where we needed an extra hand, or two. We find ourselves faced with the daunting task of taking most of the day to complete it ourselves, or have to pay someone else to do it. Since neither of those seem like good options sometimes, the projects are left undone, or incomplete.

They may vary from building a small retaining wall, repairing a fence, laying sod or some other type of landscaping to painting a room or cleaning out the garage. It also may not be something that you need, but something you know that an elderly neighbor or single parent needs some help with.

Wouldn’t it be great if once or twice a month you could organize a group to spend a couple hours to help each other out with these projects, or to donate your time for volunteer service in others? If it sounds in the least bit familiar, it is in our heritage, as just a few generations ago would host barn raisers.

Barn raising was particularly common in 18th- and 19th-century rural North America. A barn was a necessary structure for any farmer, for example for storage of cereals and hay and keeping of animals. Yet a barn was also a large and costly structure, the assembly of which required more labor than a typical family could provide. Barn raising addressed the need by enlisting members of the community, unpaid, to assist in the building of their neighbors’ barns. Because each member was entitled to recruit others for help, the favor would eventually return to each participant.

If helping out neighbors in this way is something you’re interested in, maybe ask around and see if anyone you know has a project they need help with. Then volunteer and ask if anyone else wants to join you in helping. Afterward see how good you feel for helping, and start planning the next for the following week or month, or whenever something comes up. It doesn’t take much, just a bit of effort.

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