A Word from Robbin

COMMUNITY

1: a unified body of individuals: such as

a:  people with common interests living in a particular area

b: a body of persons or nations having a common history or common social, economic, and political interests

c: an interacting population of various kinds of individuals in a common location

This isn’t really a Word story in my usual vein, but rather just some observations and a little gratitude, which I suppose is appropriate as Thanksgiving approaches.

I was surprised when I looked up the definition of “community” and found that none of the definitions adequately describes what some of us mean when we say community. So I wanted to take a moment to talk about our own definition.

In the last week of October we had quite an event here on Cape Cod. Most of us were without power and connectivity for days and had lots of cleanup to do from storm damage. Here is what happened at CapeSpace…

We were lucky to have maintained power the whole time in our Mashpee location, but on the first day we didn’t have internet, so effectively we were out of commission. Our members were so understanding, and many offered to help if they could.

We get our internet service from OpenCape, a great part of our local community, and I was able to reach the executive director of Open Cape immediately – within minutes I had an update on the problem and our service was restored that night.

With power and internet we were able to open our space up to affected folks, and we were able to help 63 people on the second day of the outage in our small location in Mashpee. We were jam-packed, but everyone was in great spirits, respectful of others in these tight quarters, and generally just happy to have a place where they could do their work and get in touch with their families and colleagues. Some of our regular members who had offices, desks and chairs they weren’t using donated those items to the lounge so we could accommodate more storm refugees.

Our amazing community managers, Anna and Haley, put in a long day of moving furniture around and making room for everyone who needed it, even though they were faced with outages at home and communicating among our team was challenged by spotty cell service.

On the third day we had power back in Hyannis and were able to open that location to the community as well. One woman came in and said she had heard about us on the radio, so someone passed on the information about our open doors to a radio station who in turn broadcasted it, which helped us reach more people.

Our building manager was without power at his office and worked out of CapeSpace for two days, during which he helped us with several storm-related facilities issues. Our handyman postponed his trip to Florida for a day so that he could reattach our awning, which had blown across the parking lot in the storm.

Some people tried to pay us even though we told them it was free. One visitor was a video producer who shot some footage. (Check out the video above!) And one member even brought in a big bowl of Halloween candy for everyone.

So I am thankful this holiday season to live in a place where everyone does their best to help others when the going gets tough, and to make the best of a bad situation with generosity, kindness and humor.

That’s community.

Peace to all.

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