Loose Ends: For us, lending a hand is second natureThe economy is not kind right now. With our 401Ks tanking, bankruptcies soaring, banks needing bailouts, fuel costs skyrocketing, and unemployment hitting every level, an emergency of any kind can put a family in serious trouble.
By: Pat Hunter, Receptionist/Archivist, River Falls Journal
The economy is not kind right now. With our 401Ks tanking, bankruptcies soaring, banks needing bailouts, fuel costs skyrocketing, and unemployment hitting every level, an emergency of any kind can put a family in serious trouble.
Have you ever had an emergency? Then you know what godsends neighbors can be.
And I think the best neighbors live right here in River Falls. They keep an eye on each other and help when it’s needed.
Witness all the fundraisers for illnesses, accidents, fires and tragedies — many sponsored by neighbors and friends of the victims.
In River Falls it seems everyone comes together in a time of need. We’re happy to raise funds to send the kids on class trips and church missions. We eat chicken on Saturdays at the Legion and pancakes on Sundays at the Moose Lodge. We get our cars washed by high schoolers and buy restaurant discount cards, all to help raise funds for our community’s needs.
We order pizzas, candy and cookies from coworkers’ children, haul our used stuff to 2nd Chances and Treasures From the Heart downtown, and, if they’re closed, we go to Dick’s Fresh Market’s parking lot where the Salvation Army has a bin for drop-off.
There are bike rides, barn dances, motorcycle runs, horse camps, 10K runs, and fundraiser walks for those who like a little action with their giving.
Younger kids have trike-a-thons, kids in grade school have jump-roping marathons, and teenagers man the brat stand by EconoFoods.
It seems there’s no end of ways to give or donate to those in need. When a storm blows through the area those with power saws get right to it and clear their neighbors’ driveways and sidewalks. Coffee gets made and doughnuts get dunked, all mysteriously appearing just when needed most.
At Christmas you see a huge outpouring. Folks empty their pockets to their churches and community support programs so everyone can have a nice Christmas. Every year the Journal’s Sharing Families project is blessed by the community’s generosity.
In the Journal building Editor Phil Pfuehler supplies a box for staff to contribute to the Food Pantry, and I know many other businesses do the same.
Thankfully, my needs have been small but my neighbors’ efforts aren’t. They have shoveled my sidewalk when I’ve worked too many hours to get to it, checked to see if my house was on fire (nope, just my dinner burning on the charcoal grill), started my car when she didn’t want to run, and one even brings me fish guts for my garden. Maybe it’s not an emergency, but my garden’s happy for the fertilizer, and my neighbors are happy with the tomatoes I give back.
If they spot a repair truck parked in front of my house, they check to see if all is OK in my world. And when they see my car parked too many days in a row they check to see if I’m in need of help.
Some might think them nosy. Some might feel they’re intrusive. But I think they’re just typical River Fallsites, ready to lend a hand when needed.
Maybe we can’t save the world’s economy, stop the next tornado or hurricane, or prevent a catastrophic illness, but we can keep that hand ready to reach out and help our neighbors.