The food "pantry" I volunteer at meets in a church parking lot. Over time I've made a few aquaintances and it's beginning to pay off.
Two weeks ago we stood around waiting for the food to arrive & talked of how we're getting by; what we've changed in our life and, if not native to Florida, how we wound up here.
One man is from France and spent his life here as a long haul trucker. Another man worked in the same business after leaving the Air Force. A couple were factory workers until that closed. One was a drug dealer until he got sober and found God.
The thing that struck me was how we all adapted. Everyone downsized and most said they wish they would have done it sooner. Many have created multiple streams of income, however meager they may be. Bartering is big and we're beginning to exchange phone numbers.
Last week I brought a few things from our pantry that we weren't using. This week I spread the word about a loveseat we're giving away. Today a woman's picking it up and hauling it all the way to Tampa for a family who just go into Section 8 housing and have two chairs and a mattress for a family of five! She lives here but travels to Tampa for a weekend job that pays well enough to make the drive worthwhile.
Another couple raises chickens so I'm saving egg cartons for them. Talking to him yesterday I discovered she needs some mending done. I bartered sewing for eggs.
The subject of Christmas came up and I said I don't participate in the traditional "shop 'til you drop" way. Just as the delivery was arriving we'd decided to do something for one another this Christmas. No firm plans yet but it was refreshing to see community building in action once again!