Have you heard of Tuesday Table?
I think it’s safe to say 2020 doesn’t need any more bad news, sickness, selfishness or mind-blowing curveballs. We can all agree that we have met our quota of Hard Things for the year. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t be perfectly fine experiencing history’s most boring, forgettable fall and winter.
What 2020 desperately needs is more people caring about their neighbors. We already know we can do that by wearing masks, limiting our social interactions, and maintaining distance in public. Those of us who can make it work can also keep our kids home to learn remotely, making schools less crowded for kids who absolutely need to attend.
Taking the pandemic seriously and being cautious until there is a vaccine or an effective treatment is a perfect way to care for our fellow human beings during this unprecedented crisis.
But that’s not all we can do.
What if we made our very own neighborhoods friendlier, healthier and kinder by sharing resources and making sure everyone has access to the things they need?
That’s exactly what “Tuesday Table”—AKA the movement every neighborhood needs now and forever—aims to do.
What is Tuesday Table? Glad you asked.
According to their Facebook page, Tuesday Table is “an opportunity to give to and receive from your neighbors. Hosts set up a table on Tuesdays with essentials (food, books, personal care items) to share with their neighbors and their communities.”
How perfect is that?! In a time when everyone is struggling in one way or another and so many of our neighbors are facing financial troubles, the idea of pooling resources has never been more necessary or beautiful. Sharing from our abundance is a good way to make sure there’s enough to go around.
Catherine McMullen of West Linn, OR (formerly of Davis, CA) started Tuesday Table just this past March as a way to share with her neighbors in response to the financial strain of the initial COVID-19 shutdown. She was joined by Melanie Carr shortly thereafter. Since March, McMullin and Carr have seen Tuesday Tables popping up all over their city and beyond.
McMullin encourages people to heed the wisdom of the old quote, “When you have more than you need, build a longer table, not a higher wall.”
The rules to participate are straightforward.
If you want to host a Tuesday Table, you just set up a table outside your house or in an accessible, approved place in your neighborhood. Put out everything you want to share with your neighbors, making sure it’s clean and in good condition. Let them take what they need. Clean it up when the day is done.
The rules to receive from a Tuesday Table are just as simple. Wear your mask, keep your distance, take a look at the table, and take what you need. Don’t touch anything you aren’t sure you want to take. Don’t leave your own donations on someone else’s table.
And that is it. That’s all the rules. All you have to do is choose to give what you’ve got or stop by and take what you need, and you can be part of the movement.
If you can’t host a Tuesday Table, but you want to donate, don’t just drop stuff off. Coordinate with the host. It’s good to share with your neighbors, but it’s inconsiderate to saddle the host with a bunch of your leftovers at the end of the day.
You can even take a photo of your Tuesday Table and send it to the organizers so they can watch their movement grow.
Sharing resources freely and anonymously with your neighbors isn’t a brand-new idea.
When I’m tempted to lose my faith in humanity, I like to drive down a little side street in my town and smile at the family who raises chickens, and puts dozens of eggs in a free pickup box next to their mailbox every week. Before the pandemic, my kids loved the Little Free Library at our local park. Churches around here provide kids with backpacks of school supplies every fall, no income questions asked.
But I love the Tuesday Table idea because it’s simple. You don’t have to buy anything, make anything, join any organizations or raise any farm animals. You just have to look at what you already own and choose to share with people who live right on your street.
Even if you can’t participate in Tuesday Table, you can still engage in the spirit of sharing and giving.
If Tuesday isn’t a practical day for you, set your table out on Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon. It’s never the wrong time to share.
Maybe you don’t have extra food, books or personal care items on hand. You can set up a table of gently used toys. Maybe you could hang clean clothes you’re no longer using on a rack in your driveway with a sign indicating that they’re free to anyone who needs them.
You can even go virtual! Post on your neighborhood Facebook page or the Next Door app and let your neighbors know that you have something you’re willing to share. Put it on your porch, or offer to drop it on theirs!
The Tuesday Table movement is a reminder that, even though we are not supposed to spend a lot of time with our neighbors face-to-face right now, we can still support each other and help each other through.
This article was originally published on