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Helping hands

March 13, 2011

It’s humbling to watch people go through a difficult time and not know the best way, or if there’s any way, to help. I’m doing this right now with more than one friend, and not for the first time…

To combat those feelings of “uselessness”, here’s a quick list of simple and practical ideas to help us help others, whether near or far.

Meal Train 

This fantastic and FREE online service helps organize meals for a person or family for any reason.

Pre-assembled Dinner Entrees

A gift card to a pre-assembled dinner entree store allows the recipient to select the meals and store them in the freezer, ready to cook. Large companies that offer these services in most areas include: Super Suppers, Dream Dinners, or Dinner A’fare (for fully cooked meals).

Care Package or Basket

Put together a small selection of the person or family’s favorite things. For illness, choose items to help pass the time – movies, books, music, games, or personal items such as lip balm or hand lotion. For condolence, choose items to help comfort or relax – selection of fruit or teas, a new book or magazine subscription.

As much as I love flowers, I prefer to send Edible Arrangements for grief or loss. These delicious fresh fruit arrangements are not only cheery and fun, but truly delicious (try the chocolate-dipped pineapple, trust me.)

Gift Cards

Funeral costs, medical bills, time off work, or needing to travel can all put a financial strain on already difficult situations. Help in the form of a grocery store or super store gift card can ease the burden a little bit.

Helping Hand

Offer to help with basic tasks the family may not have the time, energy, or ability to do. Running errands, picking up children, doing laundry, cutting the grass, cleaning the house, etc.

It’s best to offer something specific (“I’d be happy to cut your grass, which day is best for you?”). Just asking the recipient what they need help with will usually result in “I don’t know, I don’t think there’s anything.” – they are overwhelmed and often hesitant to “burden” others.

Last but not least…

I’d love to hear what you’ve done for others, or what made a difficult time for you a bit easier.

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