The Real Meaning of Community? Helping Others When They Need It Most

Today’s troubling times shouldn’t be an excuse to retreat into our personal lives without regard to those around us. In fact, I’d argue that the stalled economy, falling labor participation rate and increase need for social supports requires us to look around and really see our neighbors and the challenges they may be facing.  Being able to enter into others’ lives and make sure they have their most basic of needs met is critical to being a true part of a community.

We see commercials everyday on TV, calling attention to the increasing number of hungry people, both here in the U.S. and abroad, but our own community isn’t immune to struggles. The reality is, many of those hungry families and children are our own neighbors, as a shocking 170,000 people in Camden County alone – including 50,000 kids! – don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

But you can make a difference. Tomorrow, on May 10, the National Association of Letter Carriers will hold its 22nd Annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, the nation’s largest single-day food drive. To do your part, simply leave a bag (or more!) of non-perishable food by your mailbox, and your letter carrier will take your donation when he or she drops off your daily mail. All food stays local to help feed people right in our community. For more information on Stamp Out Hunger, visit

As individuals, we may not be able to feed an entire family in addition to keeping food on our own tables. But when we join together and do our part to make sure our friends’ and neighbors’ most basic needs are met, we demonstrate the real meaning of community.