Saturday, June 2, 2012
A Community of Helpers
Today was "Moorestown Day" in my hometown. This means that Main Street was closed to traffic and tons of vendors of all types were out displaying their items up and down the street. It's always a festive day, beginning with the annual Rotary 8k Run, and finishing up around 3:00 in the afternoon. It was a beautiful day and lots of people were out enjoying the springtime weather.
In the early afternoon, I was at home when I received a call from a friend who works at our town library. The library was having a book sale today (in conjunction with Moorestown Day) and at the conclusion of the sale, literally thousands of books needed to be boxed and loaded into a van. My friend was asking for volunteers to come and help at 3:00. My initial response to her request was that I wasn't available because I had a couple of other things planned for the later afternoon; but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I could at least get there at 3 and get in 45 minutes of help. And that's what I did.
When I arrived, there actually were a fair number of people who were already starting on the task at hand. Before long, a bunch more had also arrived. It was truly a case of "many hands making light work." It's amazing how much work can be done pretty quickly when lots of people work together. It reminded me of some other larger scale projects I've been involved in in town - building a playground, building a running trail, etc. - where we were able to accomplish a tremendous amount in a relatively short amount of time simply because we had so much help.
Back in 2007, Money Magazine named Moorestown the best small town in America. There were lots of reasons for this, but unquestionably the sense of community spirit and volunteerism was and is a big part of it. While I think Moorestown is a pretty cool place with many unique aspects to it, I suspect that a similar volunteer spirit exists in thousands upon thousands of small towns across this country. I think people naturally seek community, and a big part of what it means to be a community is people helping each other out. We could also call it kindness.