Every day, the national media is full of stories about how American families, businesses, and neighbors are adjusting to these trying times. There are so many changes happening so fast that it's dizzying: national debates about unemployment, foreclosures, debt, religion, government and private enterprise all touch on fundamental ways in which we see ourselves and our communities. At Patch, we want to explore that conversation on a daily basis so we can better understand how our neighbors are adjusting to the challenges and opportunities that surround us.
We don't think there's one American Dream, but a multitude of American Dreams which a multitude of people are working toward. Looking out across nearly almost 900 Patch sites, we see businesses holding their breath deciding whether to expand; college graduates returning home because they can't find jobs; and senior citizens bringing boarders into their homes to help pay their bills. We also see bold new volunteer efforts, inspiring stories of local businesses that succeed because they innovated, and residents who've taken these trying times as a signal to engage more, not less, in their government.
At the purely local level, we want to know the concerns of our neighbors. For instance:
In Cheshire, the amount of residents who need food stamps has grown 82 percent since 2007; from 203 to 370 residents.
The Cheshire Food Pantry provides food assistance to 200 residents a week. Annually 100,000 pounds of food is provided to our neighbors. The pantry is staff by 60 volunteers.
The Cheshire Town Council in August donated $10,000 in municipal funds to the pantry to support the growing demand for food security.
Locally, "dispatches" will chronicle Cheshire's response to hunger and other social issues such as affordable housing, public transportation and jobs.
And, of course, we want your help: Tell us what issues and what stories in Cheshire go to the heart of your American Dream.