The Perks of Community

Community perks

perks of communityAlways support the head. Have the new diaper ready. Sleep is for wimps. It pays (literally) to live in close community with other people. These are all lessons I’ve learned in the past two weeks after the birth of our first baby! I was reflecting with an overwhelming sense of gratitude towards the people we know that have blessed us with meals, onesies, diapers, books, and baby gadgets I didn’t even know existed before this month. Since everybody loves a good math problem (okay maybe only math teachers like myself), I decided to calculate how much better my wife and I were off during this season of life because of the generosity of our friends.

This is not a post to encourage you to make friends so that you can score a stroller when the time comes. This is a post to encourage anyone to develop deep friendships (not Facebook ones) with other people because it’s fun to be blessed in a time of need and it’s even more fun to bless others in their time.

It’s fun to be blessed in a time of need and it’s even more fun to bless others in their time

It has felt like we are being flooded with gifts these past days, which makes sense because it all started with the baby showers – one by family, one by friends, and one by co-workers (I guess it also pays to have a wife that everybody likes!).

Here is an itemized run-down of the downpours:

  • Diapers: 2 packs x $25 = $50
  • Books: 35 books x $5 = $175
  • Clothes: 20 outfits x $7.50 = $150
  • Blankets, gadgets, pillows, and toys = $200 (and the challenge of sticking to our true minimalism experiment!!)
  • Jogging Stroller (an amazing group gift) = $400

The showers were amazing. But what was even more humbling was the amount of items friends from work and church offered us that they used for their children. The price I list is what Alli and I would have had to pay to purchase a new item.

  • Bassinet: $50
  • Car Seat and Stroller System: $500
  • Diapers (not used thankfully, but leftovers): 4 packs x $25 = $100
  • Clothes: outfits upon outfits upon outfits, probably $400 worth (I promise that we didn’t become friends with a family of 4 older girls on purpose)
  • Nursing items: $200

Perhaps the most memorable gifts were hot meal on 10 nights following our stay in the hospital (no friend offered to pay that bill by the way – they don’t love us that much :)). The meals were collaboratively set up on and it was a hassle-free for us and the generous cooks. Not having to worry about meals for two weeks gave us incredible peace of mind – especially considering the alternative of me stepping up to the stove! By our count, these meals filled in for at least two weeks of groceries because of leftovers. Total value: $200.

That’s $2425 if you keep a calculator handy, and I’m probably leaving something out.

Please don’t hear me say that having friends entitles us to gifts or hand-me-downs, or that my friends are better than your friends, or any version of those things. I am simply breathing a huge sighs of relief that my wife and I had people around us that loved us, knew what comes with bringing a baby into the world, and were willing to help. It would have cost us dearly if we were living in isolation. As new parents, we are excited to pass along whatever we can to new families as they get started too.  

The key lesson I’ve learned as we’ve been caring for Stella plays out like one of the old Mastercard commercials. There are a plethora of line items worth x amount of dollars that we have benefited from, but living in relationships where you are able to be a blessing and be blessed is priceless.

How have you helped OR been helped by others when living in a close community?

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  1. Yessssss. There’s nothing wrong with leveraging the power of community. If I’m in need of something, I always make sure to let the people around me know. Just recently I needed a new router/modem. I mentioned it to my dad, who sent over one of his old routers–for free.

  2. This is awesome! So glad you have a great community that’s willing to pitch in!

  3. We had a similar experience when AR Junior arrived in 2015. Our local community in California was incredibly generous, brining meals, gifts and extra support during the first few months. I think we bought about 3 items of clothes in the first year due to the gifts and hand-me-downs we received!

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