You ask, “Seriously, is that for real?”. Well, matter of fact it is.
National Good Neighbor Day was created in the early 1970s by Becky Mattson of Lakeside, Montana. In 1978, United States President Jimmy Carter issued Proclamation 4601:
“As our Nation struggles to build friendship among the peoples of this world, we are mindful that the noblest human concern is concern for others. Understanding, love and respect build cohesive families and communities. The same bonds cement our Nation and the nations of the world. For most of us, this sense of community is nurtured and expressed in our neighborhoods where we give each other an opportunity to share and feel part of a larger family…I call upon the people of the United States and interested groups and organizations to observe such day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”
That Proclamation designated September 24, 1978, as National Good Neighbor Day. In 2003, National Good Neighbor Day was changed from the fourth Sunday in September to September 28th.
In this day and age where we have the “wave neighbors”, the ones that will wave but don’t know your name nor care to, and the “you don’t exist neighbors” who drive past while you’re putting the garbage can at the street and won’t look at you, it’s a blessing to have a good neighbor.
Where we choose to reside with our families is an important decision, and it’s imperative that we know who surrounds us. The best neighborhoods are those where people have taken time to get to know one another by learning each other’s names, sharing emergency contact numbers and agreeing to look out for each other. This can be as simple as checking on neighbors after a storm, flood or power outage or as complex as having a well-organized block watch.
- Introduce yourself, offer a smile and friendly hello to your neighbor.
- Help your neighbor in some way.
- Have your neighbor over for coffee or a meal.
- Help each other identify safety lapses, did they leave their garage door open?
- Get to know your neighbor a little better, ask what they like to do.
- Respect their boundaries and privacy.
- Has a neighbor done something nice for you? Pay it forward to another neighbor.
- Share your contact list of handyman and home services.
The same principles apply for condo and apartment living: chat with folks on the elevator ride or hold open a door for a neighbor and ask how their day is going. Try to be mindful of the shared building and respectful each others space.
As we begin to approach the end of summer and continue to see the widespread flooding in Louisiana and growing fires in California, we ask ourselves, “what’s next, and will my community be affected?”.
It is important to know that we are still in the midst of hurricane season, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has recently increased their hurricane estimate from 10 to 16 named storms to 12 to 17. They are now expecting five to eight of those storms to become hurricanes.
Much of the US will feel the impact of these storms. Are you prepared? Does your family have a plan in place in case your home or community are flooded? Do you have flood insurance?
Even if you’re located in a part of the country not commonly impacted by hurricanes, sudden microbursts, severe thunderstorms and melting snow can also lead to flooding. Don’t hesitate to prepare in advance; the best time to put a flood plan in place is when it’s not flooding.
Here’s a few tips on what you can do now to be better prepared for flooding throughout the year:
- Know your flood risk. (www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/flooding_flood_risks/understanding_your_risk.jsp)
- Make a flood emergency plan. (www.ready.gov/make-a-plan)
- Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies. (www.ready.gov/kit)
- Consider buying flood insurance.
- Familiarize yourself with local emergency plans. Know where to go and how to get there should you need to get to higher ground, the highest level of a building, or to evacuate.
- Stay tuned to your phone alerts, TV, or radio for weather updates, emergency instructions, or evacuation orders.
How will I know when a potential flood is coming?
The last bullet point above advises us to stay informed by phone, TV and radio for weather updates. It’s necessary to understand the terminology you are hearing:
Flood Watch = “Be Aware.” Conditions are right for flooding to occur in your area.
Flood Warning = “Take Action!” Flooding is either happening or will happen shortly.
Educating yourself and your family about potential flooding can be one of the most important things you do.