For two stormy days last week, as the cold and power outage persisted, locals found themselves drawn to Yarmouth Community Hall. Amid laptops and steaming cups of coffee, snacks and fruit, neighbors’ stories flowed freely, ranging from reminiscences of past snowstorms to shared experiences of enduring power outages.

It was a true community gathering, a scene of togetherness and support. To me, it felt like socializing that would otherwise not happen but should happen more. Even when one of the gathered neighbors found out just before noon Friday that her power was back on, she stayed to keep chatting. Who needs power at home when you can make new friends and socialize?

Abdi Nor Iftin is a Somali-American writer, radio journalist and public speaker. He lives in Yarmouth and can be contacted at

As a newcomer to Yarmouth, and with memories of hot and dry days in Mogadishu, listening to tales of previous storms here in Maine that had left residents without power for weeks, like the big storm in 1998, have become part of my process of becoming a Mainer. But the shared stories last week united us, many of us from different backgrounds, as we looked out at the falling snow blanketing cars with the town plunged into darkness.

It was also heartening to witness so many gestures of kindness. Everyone was eager to know how everyone else was doing. One gentleman offered a warm bed to anyone in need, leaving his contact information for those seeking refuge. Others with running generators came to the hall to offer help and let people know where to find them.

Back at home, we were devoid of internet or cell service but we had a fire going in the fireplace. I decided on a quick walk and the West Side Trail looked inviting. On the trail, I cleared away some fallen branches and assessed other damage. I met neighbors also out walking and talked with some clearing the storm debris in the yards.

With a neighbor’s generator shining light in the dark, we came together to clear four massive trees that fell onto the road, preventing cars from passing. What started as a simple job became a happy team effort. We used chainsaws to cut up fallen trees and cleared them away quickly to the edge of the street. Later, we gathered in one of the neighbor’s warm kitchen. We enjoyed bowls of hot chili rice soup, feeling united by the challenges of the storm.

In times like these, we are reminded of the resilience and generosity of our community. Offers of assistance abounded, from delivering coffee to those in need to opening up homes and sharing resources. These acts of kindness serve as a testament to the strength of our bonds and the importance of coming together in times of need.

At the Yarmouth Community Hall, I was struck by the unexpected yet permeating sense of belonging. There, amid familiar and unfamiliar faces and shared stories, I found a sense of home that transcends the confines of physical space. In the warmth of that camaraderie and mutual support, I was reminded of the countless reasons to be grateful for the community we call home, even during heavy snow and power outages.

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