Community is not just a nice idea - some Utopian dream that doesn't quite work in reality. It is simply the most practical (and fulfilling) way to live: a win/win situation for all. It's the difference between two contrasting scenarios on the day your car breaks down on the way to work. In one instance it's a nuisance, in the other it's a life-threatening event.
For those with limited economic and human resources it can instigate a chain reaction. You miss work so you lose your job; then you have no money to pay the rent so you are evicted from your apartment. Your car was impounded, daily gathering exorbitant impoundment fees, because you couldn't afford to get it towed and had to leave it at the side of the road. Now you have to rely on public transport to look for a job, apply for benefits and seek subsidized housing.
As a member of a community such as Angelica Village, there is another scenario with a very different outcome. You make a couple of phone calls and find somebody who can take you to work. Another community member has a truck and tows your car to a mechanic he knows who is able to fix it with refurbished parts at minimum cost. It takes a few days, but people pitch in to give you rides to work. Others make sure you have groceries to tide you over. Within a week you're up and running, and the "nuisance" is behind you.
Or take another situation we had here recently.
A two-month-old infant contracted a severe respiratory infection and ended up in the ICU. His mother has two other children under three and is just completing her training as a beautician. Every hour in school is of the essence right now if she is to graduate. Her partner is a chef with limited time off.
The community pitched in, taking the children to daycare, picking them up and feeding them before taking them home. The two little girls feel at home in the community, so this works for them as well as for their mother who is able to go straight from school to the hospital, thus spending the optimal amount of time with her little one. She has peace of mind to focus on his healing and well-being, knowing that others are taking care of basic needs for the family, such as food and diapers.
Situations such as these arise for all of us from time to time. It's called life. For so many there is no safety net when the crisis strikes. Being part of a community holds life together in an interweaving pattern of mutual support and caring.
Without a robust support group or money to tide you over, such life events can spell disaster. Community not only averts disaster but also brings people together in love and mutual help.
By the way, the baby is thriving and his mother just got a job!
Next time it may be her turn to pitch in for someone else. And she will do so with willingness and joy.