Helping Those in Need
By Lindsey O’Connor
Some people are gifted helpers. For the rest of us, no “gifting” is no excuse. Drop “let me know if I can do anything” from your vocabulary and make a difference in a hurting friend’s life.
When life gets hectic, refocus on the basics of running a life and family: food, clothes, cleanliness and childcare. If your friend has some meals lined up, clean clothes, a reasonably tidy house and the kids are cared for, their energy can go toward facing their crisis.
- Do their laundry. Pick up and deliver dry cleaning.
- Gather a group of your friends willing to clean and rotate teams or pay for a service.
- Try the team approach for helping care for the children.
Help provide money, transportation, personal support and treats.
- A gift of money or restaurant gift cards might help relieve financial strain.
- Provide transportation to appointments or take their children to school or activities.
- If you are close to them, offer your presence. Sit with them. Cry with them. Offer to go with them to the hospital, an appointment, the jail – any place their crisis takes them. Our presence can comfort when there are no words.
- Deliver a treat – ice cream, books and movies, gift basket or something you know they’ll like.
Other ways to help include:
- Coordination. Act as coordinator for organizing and scheduling on-going assistance. Make a flowchart, a schedule, a phone log. Be the conduit between other helpers and your friend.
- Follow up. Ask them about things they’ve told you. Remember event milestones.
- Prayer. Do it, believe in its power and tell them you’re praying.
- Support the supporters. If you’re not close to the person in need, help those on the frontline.
- Watch what you say. Don’t try to tell them the meaning of their pain. Keep words few and offer help.
- Ask. When thoughtfulness evades, ask what specific need you could meet.
This article originally appeared in MOMSense magazine, May/June 2007, MOPS International, Inc.