About National Good Neighbor Day
In 1978, U.S. President Jimmy Carter announced the creation of a national day aimed at raising public awareness that good neighbors help achieve human understanding and build strong, thriving communities.
Since then, National Good Neighbor Day has been celebrated every year on September 28th.
Current research shows many Americans suffer from a lack of personal relationships, which leads to isolation, depression, and anger. At the same time, less than three percent of Americans say they know the names of their neighbors, know a fact about them, and have spoken to their neighbors in the last month.
In the early 1970s, Becky Mattson of Lakeside, Montana created National Good Neighbor Day in order to connect with her neighbors. It was officially recognized as a holiday in 1978, when President Jimmy Carter issued this proclamation: “As our Nation struggles to build friendship among the peoples of this world, we are mindful that the noblest human concern is concern for others. Understanding, love and respect build cohesive families and communities.”
The date has changed over the decades but now occurs on September 28th each year. And the purpose of the holiday remains: to be a good neighbor.
To kickstart your efforts, we put together a few simple ways you can extend a helping hand or a sweet gesture to your neighbors on National Good Neighbor Day. Pick a few to do today or down the road! No matter how you plan to celebrate, it will certainly be appreciated.
10 Neighborly things to do on National Neighbour day
1. Drop off homemade baked goods. Sweet treats really are the way to the heart. Drop off a batch of freshly baked cookies, cupcakes, muffins or some other delicious dessert with your neighbor. And if baking isn’t your forté, you can pick up a dozen of your favorite local donuts, cookies or pastries — which means you get to support a local business, too!
2. Offer to pick up groceries for an elderly neighbor. Global pandemic or not, it’s always nice to offer to do more extensive errands for our elderly neighbors who may have a bit more trouble getting around town. Ask your neighbor if you can complete any errands for them, from a full grocery shopping trip to picking up a few essential items at the store.
3. Leave a bouquet of flowers on their doorstep. Beautiful blooms can brighten anyone’s day. Pick up a bouquet from a local flower shop (or pick some straight from your garden if you have enough!) and leave them on your neighbor’s porch for them to discover. Leave a sweet note to say hello or introduce yourself if you don’t know them yet.
4. Clean up any debris or trash in the neighborhood. Spend a few minutes picking up trash or debris throughout the neighborhood. Put on some gloves, grab a trash bag, start a podcast, and take a stroll down the block to pick up anything you find along the way. This small task will bless all your surrounding neighbors at once!
5. Write an encouraging note on the sidewalk with chalk. We have loved seeing the colorful and creative chalk drawings all throughout neighborhoods and city streets over the past several months. Add a little cheer to the neighborhood by writing a positive message or drawing a beautiful mural in chalk on the sidewalk. It’s a great way to encourage your neighbors during a very challenging year!
6. Leave a handwritten note with your contact information. If you haven’t exchanged contact information with a neighbor yet, consider writing a handwritten note to break the ice. You can leave your phone number at the end and let them know they can reach out if they ever need anything! Also, you might leave a spare house key in the card for a neighbor you already know well.
7. Offer to help with yard work. The next time you see a neighbor raking leaves, shoveling snow, moving mulch or gravel, or simply weeding their yard, offer to lend a helping hand. Plus, you can engage in conversation and get to know them further while you work side by side!
8. Leave a gift for your mail carrier. Mail carriers have gone above and beyond for our communities — especially during the coronavirus pandemic, when they’ve delivered our groceries, essential items and whatever else we order online. Brighten your mail carrier’s day by leaving a kind note and a small gift, like a snack or refreshing drink, for them to pick up.
9. Drop off extra produce from your garden. If your garden has produced more produce than you can possibly eat, consider sharing the bounty with your neighbors! Drop off any excess vegetables or fruits from your garden so it doesn’t go to waste — and your neighbors can enjoy farm-fresh ingredients.
10. Extend a simple “hello” and pause for conversation. Sometimes a simple conversation can go a long way. Make an effort to engage in longer conversation than your typical wave while going to and from your home. Take time to get to know your neighbor, ask how their day was, and begin to form a relationship with them. You can even take it to the next level by inviting them to come over for dinner or drinks in the near future!