The second harvest in September provides an excellent time to connect with family, neighbors, friends and even strangers we may never meet. Sharing our skills, labor, blessings and bountiful yields with others gives a deep feeling of satisfaction while helping to insure everyone has an easier time through the difficult months ahead.
- The Pagan Pride Project is a non-profit organization fostering the elimination of prejudice and discrimination based on religious beliefs while seeking positive change through education, activism, charity and community. Find a chapter near you.
- Initiate a Family or Neighborhood "Swap Meet". Trade good used clothing, furnishings, housewares, toys, tools, educational materials and other items you no longer need for something you'll find more useful. Perhaps your preschool children have outgrown their winter coats or no longer bother with their ice-skates from a year ago. Hand them down to smaller family members or community members. To get the ball rolling, simply create a basic "flier" to distribute among family and neighbors which indicates the items you no longer need. Suggest each recipient also makes a list of unwanted items and propose a meeting date (via Internet message boards or a centrally-located spot within the community) to conduct your "swap meet". Prepare some snacks or beverages for the event, or ask folks to bring a simple dish to pass.
- Many Hands Make Light Work: Gather a small, able-bodied group of willing participants (include the teens - it's a great experience for them) to go from one place to another completing chores for each homeowner in turn. Each fall, in my family, Grandma makes a list of things she needs done but cannot do for herself, nor by herself - such as putting up storm windows, painting, preparing the garden or flowers for winter, etc. All the kids come for one or two long days of work. Perhaps they'll mend part of the roof, dig out an unwanted tree stump, stack wood for the stove, seal cracks in doors and windows, clean out the garage...whatever Grandma needs. Next, they may move on to the home of the next oldest and repeat the cycle until everyone has had the chance to have a "team effort" in completing projects before the winter months set in.
- Canning/Preserving and Recipe Swap: In days long past, farmers would travel from farm to farm helping their neighbors get their crops in before the first freeze. Perhaps a threshing machine would be borrowed and shared among many who couldn't afford such a technologically-advanced item. In return, the farmers who borrowed it might give a share of grain to its' owner. The same idea of crop-sharing can still be done today. We all know of family and friends who are unable to have their own vegetable or herb garden, but who would LOVE to have some fresh-canned tomatoes, salsa or dried herbs! Why not suggest a canning party? I'll bet your friends would jump at the chance to help prepare jams, jellies, canned fresh vegetables and more for the opportunity to be able to bring some to their own homes in exchange for their help. This is a great time to enlist the help of the younger ones, too. They'll learn valuable techniques, social skills, gratitude and the wonderful feeling of "sharing". Hint: Folks are guaranteed to begin talking about their favorite recipes, so why not organize a recipe swap to follow as well?
- Everyone Has a Valuable Talent or Skill: Perhaps Uncle James is a natural with woodworking, but he needs his clothing mended and doesn't know how to sew. Maybe your neighbor, Janet, is a wonderful seamstress but she needs assistance with learning how to keep her herb garden alive. This could become a win-win-win situation assuming that you can help Janet in caring for herbs, ask her to sew Uncle James' clothing in exchange, and Uncle James can help you build the small herbal planters you need for your own garden in return. Look for those opportunities to help people connect and assist others by utilizing their own special skills.
- Reach Out and Give: Everywhere, all around us, someone needs something; from the elderly neighbor on our block to the troubled teens in our county, and from the families in our state being foreclosed on to the disaster victims thousands of miles away. Most of us don't have extra funds lying around, and truly, most people in need don't want our money...they want our support. Instead of zipping off a check in the mail to one place or another, look for ways to mentor one of those troubled teens, organize a food drive for those facing homelessness, and share your support (in any way you can) with those hurting far away.
Blessings to All for the Month of the Harvest Moon
Please share your own ideas, resources, causes and potential activities for the month of September.______________________________________________________________
Inspired by her Native American roots and Bradbury lineage, Polly Taskey is a writer and grandmother in the northern USA. She shares her wisdom and pagan interests through Pagan by Design and The Moonlit Grove.