Creating Community

Note: Today is the first day of the July edition of the Ultimate Blogging Challenge. I will be blogging for an entire month, sharing stories of places that I visited and perhaps a few interviews with owners of small businesses here in Grand Island, New York. Check in every day for the post of the day!

When I had just graduated from high school, my family moved to Grand Island, New York. It was not a community that I would have chosen to live in. I wondered if any people lived here. I saw garage doors opening, cars drive in, and garage doors closing. I did not see people walking down the street or riding bicycles or doing much of anything. I had no friends and felt hopelessly alone.

Over the years, my feelings about my community changed as I made friends and became involved in local activities. I joined the historical society and the community chorus. I found a church to attend. I obtained my freelance job for the Island Dispatch. My feelings also changed because I saw human beings outside and active. I saw people walking dogs, jogging, riding their bicycles, and taking walks. I began to feel that I was actually part of a community, as opposed to living in a “bedroom community,” where people simply worked elsewhere and lived without interacting with their neighbors.

Large quantities of trash were picked up
in the two-hour cleanup.

Today, I was out and about, being part of a community. I helped pick up litter on Grand Island Boulevard to make it look nice for the parade on Independence Day. I joined a group of three adults and two boys. Because I didn’t have gloves, I served as the “bag lady” (holding the bag open). Some of the rubbish looked like it had been there for years. We found refuse from fast food restaurants and shredded pop cans (apparently, shredded by a lawnmower), and other assorted garbage. The two boys picked up onions after a man in a vehicle removed the onions from the sandwich that he just purchased at the Tim Horton’s drive through. He then threw them out the window before driving away. Really? Yuck.

Neil Gallagher serves barbecued
pork to the volunteers.

The mom of one of the boys said that he would probably had nightmares about onions for some time. Apparently, onions are not his favorite food. She also mentioned that he was diagnosed with type one diabetes in January and has been in a clinical trial being done by an endocrinologist whom she described as excellent. The boy also said that the doctor was excellent and that they had a good relationship.

After the litter pick-up, Neil Gallagher of Too Sauced to Pork served barbecue to all of the volunteers. Neil Gallagher is someone who is very focused on community service.

Visiting with friends

As an example, he provides all of the food for the free meal at Relay for Life that is given to cancer survivors. His porch is the pickup point for the Becker Farms CSA (community supported agriculture). I joined that CSA and I go to Neil’s house to pick up food every other week. 

Town Supervisor Nathan McMurray
and Town Board member
Beverly Kinney enjoy the day.

It was good to see adults and kids collecting rubbish together. 

Microgreens add flavor
and texture to salads, omelets, and
Yummy microgreens
Dynamite cupcake

After that, I got to travel around Grand Island with Town Board member Beverly Kinney.

We stopped at a marina and then we went to the farmers market, being held at Tom Thompson’s farm.

You may pet me.

There were a variety of stands, with people selling baked goods, produce, meat, and cooked foods. I purchased a container of chicken-corn chowder and a bunch of garlic scapes.

For your garden

I used the garlic scapes to make garlic pesto.  All in all, it was a good day to

Sheila made this to help prevent tick attacks.

experience life in my community.


Mmm, cupcakes.
One of the popular
flavor was the
french toast cupcake,
complete with bacon.

The Grand Island farmers market brings people out and creates a sense of community for all, farmers and customers alike.

Today’s question: What sort of events create a sense of community in the place where you live?

5 thoughts on “Creating Community”

  1. Shelly Maynard

    What a wonderful read!! I live in the small town (but well-known!!) Lynchburg, Tennessee (home of Jack Daniel Whiskey). We are quite busy during particular times of the year but even with multiplying our population 4-5x during these events, we seem to keep the "community" idea well within reach. One of my favorite events is the World Championship Invitational Barbecue. Thousands of people come from all over the world to share in the love of good food, music, and a small community. I also love our local 4-H extension office. They get the kids involved, which in turn, gets the parents involved, in cleaning our community up and donating time to the very people who live in our area. I wouldn't want to raise my kids anywhere else!

  2. It's great to see that you're becoming part of a community! I'll admit, I'm still in the process of trying to find mine near where I live, but I've found a great community through my job. It's a community of writers who write for therapeutic purposes, and they are the most welcoming and creative people I've ever met. It is definitely fantastic to be involved in an active, exciting community.

  3. I love your comments, Alice! Community is what keeps us connected, healthy and strong, but we have to work on it. I spent the day going door to door with the designating petitions and was so pleased by the positive response – not a door closed on me. People said they appreciated what I was doing! All it takes is a knock on the door!! Keep on blogging… Celia Spacone

  4. your posts always inspire me so much, Alice! you do so much more in a day than I think i do in longer 🙂

  5. I am not as active in the community as I should be (perhaps, due to my introverted nature, I never really enjoyed any activities I tried out, years back). The garbage pickup is a wonderful event. But now, police are warning us not to even pick up anything from our front yards, as you never know who may have touched the material. The danger is from contaminated heroin, which has become a terrible problem (three overdose deaths in my small village in one night last week!) With this crisis, community involvement becomes more important than ever.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top