DEAR HARRIETTE: Several people in my neighborhood work for the government, and the stress of the shutdown is wearing on them. My husband and I are on Social Security, so we rely on the government, too. We are in a situation that feels like a sinking ship.
I think it might be smart for us to band together and cook some meals. Sometimes it costs less when you make more. I don’t know. I hate seeing people suffer. Do you think it’s a good idea to suggest a potluck kind of thing? Maybe it could boost people’s spirits if we are all together? We have gotten together before over the years, but usually for happy reasons. -- Shutdown
DEAR SHUTDOWN: First, I want to say that I hope that by the time this is published, the government shutdown is over. It is already the longest in recorded history, which is nothing for us to feel good about. I have seen and read many stories of individuals and families who are struggling. This crisis has revealed that many Americans live from paycheck to paycheck. As we hear stories about the "booming" economy, I have consistently heard people complain that they don’t know who is benefiting from this boom.
Your idea for a neighborhood potluck is excellent. It represents a way that everyone can break bread together more affordably as you offer support and good fellowship. Knowing that you are not alone at a time like this can be helpful. When you invite your neighbors, make it easy for them to participate by being a good organizer. State what you will make and ask what they can bring. Keep your tone upbeat so that they know this gathering is meant to inspire everyone to weather this economic storm.