Hard Times Require A Network Of Support

Hard Times Require A Network Of Support

When times are tough a community can help sustain your needs. Here is how to build that network and why it is important!

I read an article regarding Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs after seeing a post about how many unemployed people there are in the USA. As well as how many may be falling into financial ruin. This took me right back to when I was one of those people.


Level one is physiological needs for food, water, warmth and rest -and level 2 is a need for safety, employment, money and security. Then there is level 3 of belonging, community, family and connections. I remember being stuck in levels 1 and 2 for what seemed like ages, just trying to keep up and care for my family.

The article discussed how someone needs in the first two levels to be met before looking at the next level of need. I thought about the people I talk to and see around the city who are homeless, living in tents, trying to stay warm, dry, fed and safe. I wondered how this applied to them. I also remembered how very hard level 3 is when there are few people you trust who do not blame, shame or convert you.

There are many community outreach programs to help people experiencing homelessness that will meet those basic needs, but I have discovered that many know each other and share information, especially the Moms. In essence, they have a network and although it may not look like my current network it still works the same way.

That took me back to an article that I wrote for the book Masters Of Networking, titled Mothers Are Natural Born Networkers. It is my experience as a single mother of two who worked hard to take care of level 1 and level 2 needs.

I always struggled to make ends meet., to have what I needed for my daughters to be healthy and happy. I signed up for public assistance to get help from the state as I struggled to get my feet under me. During this time, I unknowingly developed a network of other mothers who where in the same situation that I was in. I would meet the same women at the food pantry, or the clothing bank. I would see them at the church during the week, or we would chat as we stood in line for food stamps or healthcare.

On occasion, we would meet in a park with our kids so they could play. When I needed something, they would tell me which pantry to go to and what day that pantry had the items I needed, like diapers, paper towels, and household goods. They told me what days and times the food banks had fresh items, where the places were that I could get help with rent and utilities, and who I should ask for when I was there.

The mothers were sharing the information they had. They had a word-of-mouth network. You could glean a lot of information from this network if they knew and liked you. Looking back, I learned a lot about networking at that time. I networked into a statefunded program to help mothers find jobs and knew all the inns and outs of running an office. I completed that program at the top of the class and was the first one offered a job upon completion. I went to work as an entrepreneur, starting a new business, but I stayed connected to some of those women for a very long time.

It occurred to me that sustained survival requires a network or community! If we have a network we can turn to them when things are tough, we can meet physiological and safety needs, and indeed, that network can sustain us. We can only go it alone for so long before we succumb to defeat and exhaustion, and that can be deadly to our physical, emotional, and mental well-being.

Networks are for more than business, as I learned many years ago. Having a network is essential in our life. Here are three networks we all need to have:

Your Support network – these people help you when you need it. They are the people who will pick up your mail, bring groceries if you need them, and watch your kids when you are looking for a job. These are the people you help, and they are there to help you, too.

Your Information network – is the people with information that can help you, like who is hiring and who you need to talk to at a school or community that can help you. Your information network often holds the keys to the information you need.

Your Social network – these people you often hang out with, go to dinner events and relax. This network is usually happy to introduce you to others in their networks when you ask for a connection.

Take some time and review the people on your phone, your social media, your church or school, and places you have worked. Sort them out, and likely have a few that can fall into each of the above categories. Take time and reach out to those you have not talked to lately, reconnect, find out how they are doing, and find ways to help them. Find ways that you can collaborate to support each other. When you have a network or community of people who practice helping and collaborating, you will find it much easier to get through the hard times.


Hazel Signature.

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