Chester E. Barker gives Tom Phillips a summer buzz cut at Barker's Barber Shop in Pittsboro, N.C., March 27, 2012. Barker has been cutting hair for 56 years in this small town of less than 3,000 residents. Ann Hermes/Staff
The Unofficial Beach Moms women’s group is part of the altruistic glue that holds Pittsboro, N.C. together during the hardships of the economic recession. The group met around a picnic table, March 28, 2012, at the Pittsboro Community House. Ann Hermes/Staff
From left: Lauri Heise, Susan Strozier and Sarah Goddin, part of the Unofficial Beach Moms, gather after the larger group met for dinner March 28, 2012. Ann Hermes/Staff
Lee Pollard, at his home office for "'Computer Therapy" in Chapel Hill, N.C., March 28, 2012. Pollard often donates his computer repair skills and refurbished computers at a discount to veterans, teachers, police, and fireman. Ann Hermes/Staff
A thank you note to Lee Pollard, who donates computer repair to military and civil service familes, from a 4-year-old reading: "Thank you for my computer. It will be a big help this year in school. You are a kind man."
March 28, 2012 Ann Hermes/Staff
Chiropractor Roxanne Hollander established a weekly sliding scale clinic in her Pittsboro office to provide affordable holistic healing services at a discount during the economic hard times.
March 28, 2012. Ann Hermes/Staff
Alyssa Reeves gets her back adjusted at chiropractor Roxanne Hallander's office in Pittsboro, N.C., where the high altruism index among citizens may correlate with lower unemployment rates in the area than elsewhere in the state.
March 27, 2012 Ann Hermes/Staff
Yoga instructor Casey McAuliffe, (c.), offers a free class at The Pittsboro Center for Natural Medicine, in Pittsboro, North Carolina, March 27, 2012. Ann Hermes/Staff
Craniosacral therapist, Edwin Nothnagel, treats Somatic Psychotherapist Emily Berman, during a free session at The Pittsboro Center for Natural Medicine, in Pittsboro, March 27, 2012. Both practitioners offer their holistic healing services at a discount during the center's sliding scale clinic. Ann Hermes/Staff
Craniosacral Therapist, Edwin Nothnagel, (l.), Somatic Psychotherapist Emily Berman, (c.), and Acupuncturist, John Paul Seno, (r.), in the lobby of The Pittsboro Center for Natural Medicine, in Pittsboro, March 27, 2012. Ann Hermes/Staff
The Townsend, Inc. chicken processing plant was shut down during the recession. The closure, along with that of three other poultry factories in Chatham County, N.C. caused the layoffs of 2,000 workers in Pittsboro, N.C. March 28, 2012. Ann Hermes/Staff
Erica Perlow, co-chair of the Chatham County Bullying Prevention Task Force, speaks with members of the committee during a meeting at the county school district building in Pittsboro, N.C, March 27, 2012. Perlow helped found the anti-bullying parent and teacher task force after her daughter was targeted by bullies at school. Ann Hermes/Staff
Tony Sullivan plays guitar at his C.A. Sullivan Musical Instrument Store and Repair & Custom Shop in Pittsboro, N.C., March 28, 2012. Sullivan began offering music lessons for free or at a discount when the recession hit many of his costumers. At one point, half of his students were receiving free lessons. "I'm getting paid in two ways. One's in money and one's in satisfaction, and I want to keep up the satisfaction," said Sullivan. Ann Hermes/Staff
Shannon Blackwood, (l.), a local builder and musician, jams with Tony Sullivan, (r.), on guitar at C.A. Sullivan Musical Instrument Store and Repair & Custom Shop in Pittsboro, March 28, 2012. Ann Hermes/Staff
From left, Carolyn Schwartz, Bill Schwartz, Beverly Hanley and Gayle Rusdi talk outside one of the shops on Hillsboro Street in Pittsboro, N.C., March 29, 2012. Ann Hermes/Staff
The dollars and cents of good deeds: Communities with high social capital tend to have lower unemployment. Some seeking employment solutions see this altruistic glue as something to study.
ByLeda Hartman, Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor
Long before anyone uttered the R-word, people in Chatham County, N.C., saw the economy starting to sputter. They noticed prices going up and incomes going down. So they fought back by taking care of each other.