Newsweek announced “The Recession is Over,” (cover, 8/3/2009) but everybody I know is hurting, and lots of people are tapping into savings, or living on their credit line. For those most financially vulnerable, the unemployed, and those on fixed incomes, the recession has been devastating, but everybody is digging into survival mode.

How can we help ourselves through these hard times? Drink more coffee! People who’ve lost their jobs and now work at home are getting together in coffee shops all over this country. They call themselves “home-based professionals” and instead of the demoralizing suffering and uncertainties that escalate when one is alone, they get together to bounce ideas off each other, get professional guidance and find companionship.

My mother used to do this around our kitchen table — it’s what we used to do in communities during the hard times. We can reach out to each other and share our resources and give them away. This is an ethic that has made America great.

Historically, whenever a serious economic depression comes upon us, it also brings new development and creates a whole new infrastructure for the future. In the meantime, we have to survive today, and here’s a plan for recovery: make yourself available to somebody who needs what you’ve got to give and ask for what you need. There are people out there who would be willing and happy to give it to you.

Gather around the coffee table, reach out your cup if it’s empty, and, if yours is full, pour some into somebody else’s.