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HOW to help when someone is in need.

A few years ago I got an unexpected package in the mail.  There was a CD and a note.  It was from my little brother who lives in another state.  My little family was getting knocked around pretty good by life.  Thing after thing after thing kept happening.  He’d catch wind of it through various complaints by me over social media or through phone conversations or e-mail.  So he made me a CD of some of his favorite songs, wrote a note about how music helps him when life gets rough, and mailed it to me.

It was a CD of music.  Nothing seemingly big.  But it was unexpected, thoughtful, unsolicited, more needed than I realized, and something I’ll never forget.

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I have multiple examples of things like this in my life.  A neighbor I barely knew dropped off rolls after I had a baby, a friend brought a sign over she saw in the store and said “I saw this and it reminded me of you so I had to buy it”, my sister kept showing up at my house day-after-day when I had my fourth baby even though I said I was fine (I wasn’t), a friend I hadn’t seen in years dropped off some bread and a note saying she’d been thinking of me and our kids with anxiety (she has a kid with anxiety too and just wanted to say she understood), another neighbor dropped off a game after our son broke his leg and a friend brought a meal after the same kid broke his arm, and a friend who brought over a scented plug-in after I was at her house and said I loved the smell. Seemingly simple things, but anything but simple to me.

 

We all know the stories.  A friend/family members gets diagnosed with cancer.  The infertility treatment didn’t work, again.  A child dies.  Someone loses their job.  A child is diagnosed with an incurable illness.  Their dad unexpectedly died.  The neighbor lost their job.  A friend with small kids has the flu.  A friend has depression.  Someone’s just having a hard day.  A new baby is born.  An addict continues to wreak havoc on their family.  We can’t stop thinking about a certain person even though they seem fine.

The stories are endless.  And we find ourselves saying “What can I do to help?” and/or “Call me if you need anything.”  The problem isn’t that we don’t  want to help.  The problem is we really want to DO something.  But often can’t figure out what to do.

 

We hear these stories.  Our initial response is that we want to help.  We want to DO something.  But often we can’t figure out what.  So often we just don’t do anything.

 

I read a book, Love Does that changed my entire perspective on what Love means and what Love is (if you haven’t read it, you need to–trust me).  In the book, Bob Goff says:

“I reflect on God, who didn’t choose someone else to express His creative present to the world, who didn’t tap the rock star or the popular kid to get things done.  He chose you and me.  We are the means, the method, the object, and the delivery vehicles….God usually chooses ordinary people like us to get things done….

…it becomes clear that we need to stop plotting the course and instead just land the plane on our plans to make a difference by getting to the “do” part of faith.  That’s because love is never stationary.  In the end, love doesn’t just keep thinking about it or keep planning for it.  Simply put: love does.

 

LOVE DOES things.  Love doesn’t just think about doing things.  Love actually does things.

 

I spent a LOT of time talking to friends, family, acquaintances who have been through everything imaginable.  I then compiled these ideas of things we can actually DO when tragedy strikes, when illness comes, when new babies arrive, when friends just have a bad day, when someone needs to be SEEN and LOVED.  I’ve separated and organized the ideas (as best I could) based on different possible life events.  But many of the ideas apply to any life situation.  I’ve also included a list at the end of little things we can give to people when they’re in need or just because they’re name popped into our head.  It’s a meaty/long post but I think it’s full of amazing ideas (most of which I didn’t come up with myself).

After reading the ideas, if you have any ideas to add, I would LOVE for you to add them in the comments to benefit others who read all this.

These ideas and thoughts were compiled from several people who have BEEN through these situations.

(design from the Project Life App)

project-life (5)

A few preliminary thoughts.

**When we suspect someone is in need, it is ALWAYS appropriate to reach out to them.

**It’s not always necessary to buy something.  Most people just want to feel loved and seen by others.  So a note or a text is FAR better than nothing at all.

**This is not just applicable to people going through obvious hard times.  Sometimes the people who seem to need things the least are actually the people who need them most.  If a thought is in your head to do something for a specific person, DO IT.

**Assume people need help and phrase things so they KNOW you intend to do something.

**Make offers specific.  Likewise, make requests specific and be willing to accept help.

**Don’t overthink helping.  Just DO something.

**These ideas will obviously need to be tweaked per individual circumstance.  But most of them are universal and show people that someone cares.

 

general

These  ideas apply to most situations when we want to do something for someone.

**Drop off a note.  I think we often assume we have to take something.  But EVERY single person I asked to help me with this said they’d simply love a note from someone.  Just to know someone is thinking about them and cares.  Hand written notes, text message, e-mail.  Anything to let them know you care.

 

**Follow-up with texts or e-mails.  Set a reminder to check in with the person/family a week or two later.  Helps people know they haven’t been forgotten.

 

**Keep a list of things people like.  When you hear someone mention something they like, write it down so when you want to take something to that person one day, you have a running list of things you know they’ll enjoy.  You could also send out an e-mail to family and friends you know you’ll want to take something to at some point and ask them for five things they’d love to show up on their doorstep (I’ll give a big list of some ideas at the end of this post as well)

 

**Consider the spouse.  If taking something for your friend/person in need, consider taking something for their spouse as well.  Chances are if one person is having a hard time, the spouse is suffering as well and could probably use a pick me up (package of oreos, truffles, sweet treat, salty treat–something that shows you thought about the people they love as well will speak volumes to that person)

 

**Take a meal.  Meals don’t always need to be big, elaborate, 5 course meals.  SOMEthing is always better than nothing.

–Ask what the family would prefer. Give them a few choices and see what they would like the best.  Be sensitive of allergies in the family or other issues eating certain foods (nausea from chemo, etc.)

–Freezer meals are great so they can eat them when they need them.  You can make one or several.  Put heating instructions on the outside and the family can use them when they need them

–Crockpot meals.  Assemble all the ingredients together with instructions how to cook the meal in a crockpot.  They can dump it in and then eat it whenever they have time that evening.

–Double the dinner you’re making and take the “extra” over to someone.  This works well for someone resistant to accepting meals/help.  If it’s presented as “extra” they won’t feel bad about you going to extra work.

–If a family has an on-going issue, commit to take dinner to them the same day once a week for several weeks.  Doesn’t need to be fancy or elaborate but shows them you’re there for the long haul and will help as long as they need it.

–Consider taking meals in single serving sizes.  Split the meal up into several tupperwares or ziploc bags so they can grab it and go (especially convenient for people going to and from a hospital).  These can also be frozen and they can heat them up individually when needed.

–Buy a bunch of groceries with easy to assemble meal ideas

–Make extra of whatever dinner you’re taking so they’ll have enough leftovers for the next night or lunch the next day

–Buy them a meal from a restaurant.  I know many people are uncomfortable cooking for another family.  You can tell them where you’re going (or give them three choices and ask which one they prefer) and ask for their order (I usually say “I’m going to buy you something so you might as well tell me what you want to eat).  You could also buy pizza (ask what kind they like).  If you don’t live close to someone, you could order pizza online (or any restaurant with online ordering and delivery), pay for it and have it delivered (pre-pay the tip as well).

–Have a list of some good “go-to” take-in meal ideas as well as the ingredients on hand so when the need arises, you already have the ideas and ingredients.  Don’t let not having time to go grocery shopping be the reason you don’t take something over.

–Get a group of people together to take meals in over a period of days/weeks/months depending on the need.  You can use the app “Sign up Genius” to help coordinate the volunteers

–Invite the family to your house for dinner so they don’t have to prepare or clean up anything.  Or make a meal and go eat it with the family at their house (only if you sense they could use/want the company)

–Although seemingly wasteful, take paper products when you drop off a meal and put the food in dishes the family doesn’t have to return so they don’t have any extra work.

–Be mindful of how many people will be eating.  If there are only 2 people, don’t take so much food they feel bad throwing some out and being wasteful.  If they have extra people at their house (family or friends staying there) try to include enough for them to eat as well.

 

**Send a video.  Make a quick video and send it to the person.  It may be just the thing they need to smile or know someone made a little extra effort to make them feel loved.  These are great in times of need or “just because”.

 

**Drop something at the door.  If you know them well enough and depending on circumstances you can knock and drop it off.  Or just leave it on the porch and text them to let them know it’s there.

 

**Anticipate general needs of the family.  Take out the garbage, mow the lawn, weed, drive carpool, offer to take kids on a specific outing you’re going on (“we’re going to…..on Thursday.  Can we pick up your kids and take them with us?”), shovel snow, take kids to church.

 

**Pick up Groceries.  Each time you go to the grocery store, text that person and see if there is anything you can pick up for them.  “I’m going to the store tomorrow morning.  What can I pick up for you?”

 

**Be mindful of all kids in the families.  If taking something to one kid (new baby, injury, illness) try to think of something small you can take to the other kids in the family as well (coloring book, stickers, small treat).  Doesn’t have to be big or similar to what you’re giving the primary kid (new baby, injured or sick child) but it may save some conflicts of other kids feeling left out or jealous.

 

**Take a box of breakfast items.  Usually we take in meals for dinner which can be used as leftovers for lunch or dinner the next night.  Might be nice to take in things for breakfast (since it IS the most important meal of our day).  Juice, cereal, muffins, protein bars, cinnamon roles, breakfast casserole, frozen waffles, etc.

 

**Surprise them for a fun time out.  Arrange with their spouse to show up and surprise a friend and take her to dinner, the movies, biking, hiking, etc.  Something like this shows extra effort and can eliminate some of the “excuses” for not getting out (even when they know they need to)

 

**Listen.  Sometimes people just need someone to listen.  Not someone to fix or give advice.  Just someone to listen.  Be sympathetic and compassionate.  Just be willing to listen and generous with your time.  Also be sensitive that some people may not want to talk about themselves or their problems.  If they keep changing the subject, be aware they probably don’t want to talk about it and instead may want to talk about something entirely different.

 

**Take a friend to lunch.  Sometimes just getting out of the house and spending time with a good friend does wonders for the soul.

 

**Clean the house.  There are definitely mixed feelings about this one.  I would personally have a hard time with neighbors/friends cleaning my house.  But after I had my 4th baby, my mom and sister showed up for several weeks and helped pick up and clean.  And my mom continued to come to my house once a week for about 6 months and helped me clean, do laundry, etc.  It was a sanity saver.  If people are uncomfortable with this, a group of people could pitch in and have a cleaning service come clean the house.  (You could take the friend to lunch or out on an outing and send the cleaning service while you’re gone–arrange with their spouse to keep the house unlocked).

You could also just offer to clean a bathroom real quick, wipe down the kitchen, or help do a quick house pick-up (pick up all the things strewn about–constant struggle at my house)

 

**Take care of their car.  Take a friends car and fill it up with gas or take it to a car wash.

 

**Sidewalk chalk messages.  Draw pictures and leave notes on their driveway or sidewalk with sidewalk chalk

 

**Do laundry.  Again, mixed feelings.  But if you know someone well enough, you could show up one day and do their laundry or fold and put away laundry.  Or take their laundry home and bring it back.  Or, pay to have a laundry service do their laundry for them.

 

**Sticky note love.  Put a sticky note on their door or car window letting them know you’re thinking of them or just something funny that will make them smile.

 


 

lifeevents

Here are just a few specific life events/situations and things we can do during each of those.

hospital
 (cancer, chronic illness, significant injury,etc.)

**All of the “General” ideas would apply here

**Don’t unexpectedly show up.  Unless it’s close family, check first to see if it’s okay to visit.  Many people won’t want a lot of visitors showing up (unless it’s an expectant mother on bed rest and then she may appreciate the relief from boredom)

**Drop off a treat with the nurses at the hospital with a note and have them take it in.  Though they may not be able to have visitors, it’s nice to know someone took the time to show up at the hospital and show they care.

**Fill a basket full of snacks and leave at the hospital to keep in the room.  When my brother was hit by a car and spent 3 weeks in ICU, a friend brought a huge basket full of treats and snacks for our family to eat while we took turns staying with him.  I will never forget that.

**Gift cards to food places.  Making meals often gets pushed aside and money can be tight with mounting hospital expenses.

**Gas cards for the family.  Hospital stays often require lots of driving and gas cards would always be appreciated

**Pay for a hotel room for someone whose family member is in the hospital.  If a spouse/parent/family member is spending a ton of time at the hospital with the patient, it’s nice to get a good nights sleep somewhere besides the hospital.

**Take care of kids.  I think most parents would agree, if they know their kids are being cared for, it makes the situation much more bearable.  Take kids on outings, babysit when needed, carpool, drop little gifts by to occupy the kids.

**Shop and Drop.  Buy a bunch of non-perishable easy to snack on grocery items you know they’ll use.  Leave it on the doorstep and text and let them know it’s there or leave it there anonymously.  Quick things they can grab or things you know they’ll use/need (beef jerky, trail mix, granola bars, fruit leather, cereal, protein bars, chips, toilet paper, detergent, fruit)

**Drop a care package of stuff for kids to use AT the hospital.  Something that stays there so when the kids come there are little toys/activities for kids to do (books, cars, small dolls, coloring books, playdoh, paper and markers, no-parent necessary crafts, etc.)

**If someone is battling cancer, make themed t-shirts or bracelets for their family and friends.  Each cancer has a color associated with it so use those colors to make/buy things for the family to show your support.  Send photos of other people wearing the shirts/bracelets as well

**Print off funny/inspirational quotes or photos of family/friends for them to hang in the hospital room.  When my friend was battling Stage 4 Lymphoma, we asked hundreds of people to send us photos doing the peace sign, made a huge collage, and printed it off in a poster size to hang in her room.  We also put together a slideshow of the photos with music so she could watch that in the hospital and see how many people were pulling for her.

**Have kids draw pictures to hang in the hospital room

**Drop off gifts that will be useful while in the hospital.  Things they personally can use or people visiting them can use while spending time with them.  Fleece blankets, games (pictionary, scrabble, bananagrams, spoons, cards), a journal to keep track of their experiences and thoughts, books, magazines, fuzzy/fun socks.

**Put a “love” box on their porch with blank cards so family/friends/neighbors can stop by and write a note or leave things in the box for the family to get when it’s convenient for them.  This may help with being overwhelmed with people wanting to do/leave something.

**If it’s a kid who is sick or injured, bring in an activity or craft to do with them and give the parents a small break.

**Once someone gets home from the hospital, be mindful it takes time to get life back on track.  Continue helping even after the hospital stay is over.

 

singlemoms

{these ideas come from some of my single mom friends.  I know they won’t apply to all single moms, but these are some ideas}

**All of the “general” ideas apply

**Be mindful of holidays they may feel lonely and may not have their kids.  Drop by little gifts or a note to let them know you’re thinking of them.  Do a “heart attack” on Valentine’s day (cut up a bunch of hearts, write nice notes on them, tape them all over their door or garage).

**Gas cards.  Being able to get to and from work and get kids to all the places they need to be is a security many of us may take for granted.

**see if they need help fixing anything around the house and offer to do it for them (or have someone you know come help fix it)

**Drop off lunch to them at work

**Gift card for groceries.  Nice to not have to worry about putting food on the table.

**Gift cards to restaurants so they can go out to eat without feeling guilty

**Basket full of bathroom stuff (toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, toilet paper, body wash, etc.)

**Movie tickets or passes to take the kids somewhere fun.

**Drop off some unexpected flowers

 

newbaby

**All of the “general” ideas apply

**Meals are often most appreciated during this time.  Consider taking a meal a month or two after the baby is born.  It’s unexpected and I don’t know any mother who wouldn’t appreciate it.

**things besides clothes.  I know it’s fun to buy little itty bitty clothes, but we all know new babies require so much more.  Think of other gifts as well (diapers, books, toys, lotion, baby wash, etc.)

**Take the other kids.  Again, phrase things so they know you intend to do something.  “I have the morning free on Monday and would like to bring your other kids to my house (or on an outing) so you can just spend some time with the new baby”.

**Offer to come hold/watch the baby so a new mom can take a shower or a quick nap.  However, be mindful some moms may be uncomfortable with this so don’t push too hard if they resist.  I got severe post-partum anxiety and couldn’t let the baby out of my site like, ever so I wouldn’t have been open to someone doing this.  But if a mom seems willing, this would be a nice gesture.

**Bring stuff for the other kids to do so the mom isn’t trying to take care of babies needs and entertain other kids all day long

**drive other kids places.  Take over carpool or drive kids to dance or sport events.  Both of my boys screamed like crazy people in the car (it was awful) the first year.  I would have loved for someone to take over carpool or drive kids places so we didn’t have to get in the car.  Ever.

**drop off breakfast or lunch

**iTunes or Amazon card so mom/dad can buy books on their phone (for Kindle or iBooks) and read while nursing/feeding/rocking the baby. (It’s much easier to read on your phone during this phase because it doesn’t require two hands).

death

**all of the “general” ideas would apply

**if they have to travel for the funeral, drop by a package of things to eat/do in the car

**Make a “funeral kit”.  Include waterproof mascara, aspirin, tissues, gum, mints, etc.

**Make note of specific anniversaries and set a reminder to contact surviving loved ones on those days (the day the person who died was born, their wedding anniversary if it was a spouse who died, the day a person entered the hospital before they died).  Be sure to remember the day they died and send their surviving loved ones a note/text/small gift on that date the following year.

**drop off a basket of food they can snack on during the week of funeral planning and the funeral.

**drop off things they can give to family/friends who come for funeral stuff.

**help clean their main floor and guest bathroom that people visiting may use

**anticipate needs that won’t seem as important at the time to the person but still need to be done (house work, yard work, take garbage cans out or bring them back in, bring in mail, etc.)


 

give

Some ideas of specific things to take to someone for ANY reason (someone going through hard times or just to show someone you love them and care)

**A thoughtful note.  Keep a box of blank cards at home so you can write a quick note whenever you need to and drop it off to a friend or someone in need.  Or keep some funny cards to take when someone needs cheering up.

**bread and jam (homemade or store bought) or rolls

**Gift cards (favorite restaurants, online stores, gas cards, grocery stores, iTunes, Amazon)

**Flowers (sunflowers, tulips, roses)

**Plants (potted plants or flowers that last longer than regular flowers will).  Trader Joes has good ones.  Or Ikea.

**their favorite drink.  Diet Coke, Dirty Dr. Pepper, coffee, tea (keep a running list when you hear people mention things they like)

**cupcakes

**anything chocolate

**flavored popcorn

**socks

**framed photo or inspirational quote

**nail polish

**lip gloss or chapstick

**muffins

**cookies (homemade or store bought)

**soup and bread (homemade or store bought)

**pictures drawn by kids

**car fragrance to hang in their car

**scented candles or scented plugins for the house

**lotions or good smelling hand sanitizer

**notebooks and pens (I truly could never have enough notebooks)

**car wash coupon

**a bush or tree they can plant

**platter of fruit

**coffee or wine (I don’t drink either so I have no suggestions on this,  but people tell me it’s a good gift idea 😉 )

**movie bucket (popcorn, treats, chips, movie, redbox coupon)

**chocolate or white chocolate covered pretzels

**seasonal decoration for their home

**ice cream (if you know they’ll be home).  The salted caramel ice cream from Smith’s is ridiculously good and I don’t even really like ice cream.

**yummy salad (Cafe Rio, Rumbi’s, Kneaders)

**book

**fuzzy/fun socks

**smoothie (Roxberry, Orange Peel, or even homemade) or milkshake

**chips and salsa

**treats catering to an allergy or gluten intolerance (gluten free meals, treats, snacks)

**fleece blanket or throw blanket or a home made quilt (if you’re really ambitious)

**basket of fruit or bread and crackers

**gift card for a pedicure

**re-usable water bottle

**individual snacks from Costco (chips, trail mix, granola bars, protein shakes, etc.)

**candy

**make a CD of some of your favorite music or buy them your favorite CD.  Or give them an iTunes card and a list of some of your favorite songs they can buy and download to their device

**a sign or quote that reminds you of that person

**unexpected simple dinner

**collage of pictures of the two of you or their kids/family

**gift card to go DO something fun (tickets to an upcoming play or movie, passes to a fun center or race car track, etc.)

**robe, slippers, or cute pajama pants

**quick to grab treats and snacks

**basket of breakfast foods (juice, cereal, muffin mix, frozen waffles, protein bars, protein drinks)

**take a “gift in a jar” (that link has some great ideas!)

**box of sunshine (filled with anything yellow)

**chocolate or caramel covered apple (Chocolate factory has really good ones)

**things for the sick (gatorade, crackers, sprite, applesauce, bananas, rice, chicken noodle soup)

**balloons (could attach a note to each one with things you love about that person or inspirational thoughts/quotes)

**hat or headband

**if you have a favorite shirt/clothing item, buy another one for a friend

**drop off breakfast (french toast, donuts, muffins)–no one expects someone to drop off breakfast!

**necklace, earrings or bracelet (I LOVE these Lokai bracelets.  So much meaning behind them and great for a friend going through a rough time.  Even if they have one, it’s nice to associate a specific piece of jewelry to the person who got it for you)

{For more gift ideas or ideas of things to take people, you can follow my “Gifting” board on Pinterest or ALL of my boards on Pinterest for even more great ideas.}

 

I think if we boiled down the purpose of life to it’s very basics, our purpose is to learn how to LOVE. How to take care of and care about each other.  We belong to each other and God uses US to answer prayers and take care of all His children.

 

If you have any ideas/suggestions to add to this list, PLEASE leave them in the comments below or on the post in Facebook or Instagram so I can add them here.  This is an instance where I don’t think less is more.  The more ideas we have the better.  Then we have no excuses of not knowing what to do.

 

And if you know anyone who would benefit from this list of ideas, please share this link with them. The more people we have anxiously engaged in a good cause and going about doing good, the better off this entire world will be.

 

To join this growing community of people who believe in using the internet for good and to stay in the loop on what we have going on around this here blog, enter your name and e-mail below to join the e-mail list.  It’s a good thing to be a part of.  Promise.

Thank you ALL so much for being here.  Now let’s all go DO things for people!

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  • shannon

    I like to keep a blank card in my purse so I can write a quick note to someone before the thought leaves.ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Of course you do Shannon. Because you are easily one of the most thoughtful people I know! Great idea!ReplyCancel

  • when our 9 mo old died, I will never forget my former pastor and wife who showed up with toilet paper, paper towels and plates. Costco sized! With family arriving for the funeral and visitors, it was the most practical gift and such a blessing.

    Also, I learned from that time not to say, call me if you need something. I was too overwhelmed to even know what I needed. Far more helpful were those who said, I love cleaning bathrooms, can I come Monday morning and clean yours? Or those who said, let me take your kids to the park so you can nap.

    Love does….I love that!ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Amy,
      Great idea on the practical things. A friend of mine made the same comment as you. She didn’t even know what she needed or what to tell people to do to help her. Sometimes it’s just us acting and doing something. Anything.
      I’m SO sorry to hear about your baby. I am positive there is a special place reserved in heaven for parents who lose their children at a young age. Bless you and your family.ReplyCancel

  • Kolleen

    These are great ideas. As a person who works in a hospital, if a loved one is in the hospital, bring them a good pillow, jammies and a super soft blanket. Toss it all when you leave. You don’t want those cooties coming home with you!ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Kolleen,
      Pillow and jammies at the hospital….perfect idea. Or even a pillowcase. I’ll have to add that to the list!ReplyCancel

  • Just lovely. I have been getting ideas together for a similar type post but was nowhere near as comprehensive as this yet so this is great! It is so hard to know what to do to help people in difficult situations but once you’ve had personal experience, it’s much easier to think of ways to help. Much better to just ‘do’ as people often find it hard to say ‘yes please’ when help is offered!
    Thanks for another wonderful post and great book suggestion 🙂ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Hey Bronwen, It’s definitely easier to think of ways once you’ve been through something. That’s why I asked all these people to help me. There’s NO way I could have come up with this comprehensive list without all their help. So many people had so many great ideas. And most of them are really simple. Just a matter of us doing them!!ReplyCancel

  • Receiving this email in my inbox this morning was perfect timing. My husband is a high school lacrosse coach. During a recent game, one of his players suffered a spinal injury. The entire community has been grasping at what to do to help this amazing young guy. So many people have already pitched in – events have been planned & fundraisers are underway. I have been struggling with what to do once he returns home (from rehab) and all the fundraising and support “slows down” (as it always does). Your list was the perfect jumping point to focus my ideas.

    I love this list and will certainly refer back to it often. It’s such a beautiful reminder that even a text is often enough (I received one out of the blue from my best friend from high school letting me know she was thinking about me & the Hubs the other week. She didn’t know how much we were struggling in that very moment and it meant SO much to me to know she was thinking about us). Thank you for taking the time to construct such a well thought out list. In times of need, it’s easy to feel helpless with no idea where to start. Having these actionable items will help focus the efforts in a positive way (and avoid overwhelming families in these situations). Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Jordan,
      I’m so sorry to hear about the player on your husband’s team. I grew up playing sports and know first hand how devastating those injuries can be. I hope this list can help with ideas on how to support him and his family. They’ll definitely need continued support once the trauma of the whole thing wears off. I have a close friend who went through cancer and I know that was a big struggle for her. Feeling forgotten even though she was still struggling so much.ReplyCancel

  • Such a great idea. I know I am always so glad when I act on a prompting to reach out to someone, even if I’m worried about imposing or offending. It’s always better to be kind!

    And I, too, hope to get away from the habit of just saying, “let me know if you need anything!” That does no good.ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Me too Liv. I still find myself saying this and I’m trying so hard not to. That’s why I wanted a list like this (and recruited a bunch of people to help me with it). So in those moments when I know someone needs something, I can just pick something from here and DO IT!!ReplyCancel

  • Isabel

    About 9yrs ago we went through financial hardship, we ended up bankrupt. A woman I knew, from a harp class I had attended, dropped an envelope through my door on day. In a note she told me of the time she had parked her car in a multistory car park all day but lost her parking ticket. A stranger had seen her distress and paid her fee, but had refused to give their name and address when she offered to repay them. The stranger said “Pay it to someone else in need.”

    So she had put a £20 note in the envelope she gave to me, because she thought I could use it. I cried my eyes out. And I hung onto that money until I really had to spend it. I couldn’t bear to waste it. She told me to pay it back to someone else who could use it.ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Isabel,
      This is such a cool story. Not the bankrupt part (that super sucks), but the paying it forward. Isn’t it amazing how something seemingly so small can make such a big impact on someone’s life!ReplyCancel

  • Abby

    when my husband was sick in the hospital, a neighbor with her son in the same class as my son, Took over our science fair project. She helped him with the poster she helped him with the experiment and with the report. It never would’ve gotten done without her.ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Abby,
      That’s an awesome idea. Help kids with homework! I’ll have to add that to the list!ReplyCancel

  • Holly Dickerson

    Thank you so much for all of the incredible ideas on this page!!! Love it!ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Holly,
      It’s definitely a great resource! I’ve already referred to it a few times just since I posted it!ReplyCancel

  • Wonderful! Helpful! Thank you.ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Mary,
      So glad it was helpful. It’s really helpful for me as well. I have lots of smart and giving friends who gave me most of these ideas!ReplyCancel

  • lindsey

    Thank you for putting all of these wonderful ideas together. My husband was recently hospitalized for 10 days and we were the recipients of many of these similar ideas. I was driving back and forth to the hospital every day, which was an hour away from our home. I had some sweet friends drop off pre-made lunches for me to take to the hospital to make sure that I ate during the stressful time. I felt so loved each time I opened the tupperware with a homemade sandwich inside. Also as mentioned in your post, they packed a bag full of snacks to be kept at the hospital. These both seemed so simple but it meant so much to me. Someone else also dropped off a goody box of coloring activities and puzzles for the kids and bath salts and chocolates for me. They signed the card “Love, a friend”. Just knowing that others are thinking of you and praying for your family is a huge support.ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Lindsey,
      Sounds like you have good friends! When my brother was in ICU for 3 weeks I was amazed at how much energy the hospital sucks out of you. We took turns sitting with him and after some of my rotations I felt exhausted. And all I did was sit there. It’s so nice to have a great support system when going through stuff like this. Hope your husband is doing better.ReplyCancel

  • Tammy

    LOVE this post! And LOVE that book Love Does! I refer to it often. Having a daughter that was hospitalized several times when she was younger I will say all of these are awesome! And it’s true, you do not forget when someone does these things for your family. You think back on them with a smile!

    Here is one that maybe wasn’t shared. When my mom was medically unable to walk (she is healed now PTL!) a friend of hers came over to spend the day & brought 2 outfits for my girls. She said she knew that was something my mom was missing out on doing herself—buying clothes for her granddaughters! Also, another friend came to her house & made several freezer meals for her while she was there. They spent the afternoon laughing in the kitchen together!
    Thanks for sharing! xoxoxoReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Tammy,
      Love Does is one of my favorite books! Thanks for the other suggestions! Doing things for people’s kids when they can’t do them themselves. Great addition.ReplyCancel

  • Jeanne

    At age 2, my oldest daughter was in the hospital for cancer surgery and to begin chemo. The doctors gave her 2 weeks to live-unless she responded to the chemo. The radiation specialist said no one as “involved” as my daughter had ever lived.

    Very late one night a friend showed up with her Bible tucked under her arm and said, “What would you like me to read?” I was at a very low point that night.(Only one parent was allowed to stay in those days.)

    Another friend, a nurse came and checked on my knee that I had just had surgery on a couple days before. That loving touch and concern for me as well really encouraged me!

    (My daughter survived and is 33 years old with a loving husband and 4 children of her own-something else the doctors said she’d never have.) God is supreme!ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Jeanne,
      VERY cool story. So glad you’re daughter survived. She must be tough!! Amazing how seemingly small things are remembered so many years later.ReplyCancel

  • Debora

    Thanks for the terrific list of ideas. I will use this in a lesson at church to help the sisters put their faith into action. The nicest thing anyone has ever done for me is when I was having emergency surgery in the hospital, my husband was out of town, and I had 2 small kids being babysat at home. My friend came to the hospital and offered to wash my hair. It was SO appreciated (who doesn’t feel tons better with clean hair?) and something I would never have thought to ask anyone to do. You’re entirely right that the little things that show someone cares mean the most.ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Debora,
      What a great idea! Washing someone’s hair in the hospital. Isn’t it weird how much better you feel after your hair gets washed? Especially being in the hospital. It gets matted and gross pretty quick! What a thoughtful friend! And THANK YOU for sharing that.ReplyCancel

  • […] I have been thinking about writing this post for months and a blogger I love reading actually wrote an excellent one on exactly this topic while I was pondering. It is fantastically full of ideas of How to help when someone is in need. […]ReplyCancel

  • M

    I had a stroke at 26 years old. I had to have a serious heart procedure (thankfully my stroke happened in the only city in the US that could do this procedure by catheter than by open heart surgery). Even though my husband and I lived in the same city with his brother/SIL, who was a pastor, they did absolutely nothing to help but just made the situation worse–my SIL kept insisting that I hadn’t really had a stroke–even though I was paralyzed from the elbow down in my left arm, and I never got my balance back. We did have one set of friends that were amazing to us. The husband had introduced my dh to and me to gourmet cooking, and we and that couple did so much together. The couple was in our city because the husband was in seminary school. The husband had recently been diagnosed with a autoimmune disease, just like me. We comiserated and tried to help each other. One night when the wife was out of town on business, the husband called and asked if he could come over and cook dinner for dh and me. He made his special beef bolognese sauce in my kitchen, while I sat at the ktichen table and talked to him and dh. I couldn’t even feed myself, my face was all drooped, and I know that our friend was trying so hard not to cry. He acted like nothing had changed and was the one person who saw me and not just a stroke victim. Those few hours of normalcy meant more to me than anything else. This friend died from a complication from his illness a few years later. I can’t wait to tell his children what a wonderful gift their father gave to me at the lowest point of my life. My friend truly got what so many other Christians, including many pastors, don’t get. Love does. He saw *me*, not an illness. My stroke was just the start of a downward progression of severe chronic illness. I’ve had so many people promise to do things for us, but most don’t follow through. I get that life is busy, but don’t tell people you’re going to do something and then act like those people don’t exist anymore. It’s very hurtful. Dh and I no longer go to church because our local churches promised so much but didn’t help when I was too sick to go to church. My dh also has some physical problems as well. It’s rough not having any support. I can’t do much, but I do call people and send messages on facebook. I’d also like to send more cards to encourage and thank people. I’ve discovered that the people that are out doing the most for others are the ones that have true empathy because they’ve been in a situation where they needed help.ReplyCancel

    • Pam

      “M”
      What a beautiful story ,about your friend. He probably needed you as much as you needed Him.
      It is sad our lives get so busy we forget about our friends when they need us the most.
      My parents , although older, went through the same thing years ago. My dad had a massive stroke at 56, and had to retire early, etc. both my parent s were avid golfers and had planned to spend their time golfing after dads retirement. Obviously, due to his handicaps afterwards, they were unable to. The thing that stuck out in my mind the most after dads stroke was moms comment ,( my dad died in 2005, my mom is still active at home at 88) telling me “you find out who your true friends are real fast when somethings like this happens”.
      I guess my point is, be thankful for your true friends, and don’t push God away, he is ther to help, even though your pastor didn’t.ReplyCancel

  • I have spent years trying to do things like this & teach my children to do the same. I never had money so I redid things I found at “roadside mall” or recycling whatever I could or I made artwork & gave them on special occasions not necessarily their birthdays or holidays. It’s been a real blessing to see people enjoy these gifts & often those who seemed well off, were the most thankful! Having chronic illnesses myself, I became more compassionate & more aware of the cost all family members pay so I always make a point of checking on all not just patient. Also, having taken care of 5 parents until their deaths, I realized how hard that is on caregivers. Often they end up sicker than patients they care for. The caring never ends & there usually aren’t anyone to give them a break & they ignore their pain as they can’t stop. My family would complain at times when my one time of helping stretched into weeks so I upped my care of them & the cost was high. But love does. Love reaches out. Love has a cost but what good is something that doesn’t require an effort? When those who are ill themselves or have very busy lives gives a gift, it’s that much more precious than normal.
    On a more practical note, I have found that making a basket w/napkins,salt & pepper, packets of ketchup or other condiments as well as disposable cups & silverware as that allows a patient confined to bed, have everything they need w/o having to ask caregiver to make another trip. I’ve also put hot soup, water for instant teas & coffees & even formula in thermoses & they were gratefully received especially if someone lives alone. Thanks for your article. Sometimes my attempts to help are mistaken guesses about what is needed but your article reminded me of times when I guessed well.ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Marti,
      Sounds like you’ve spent a lifetime taking care of people! You’re a good person. The condiments pack is a great idea! Thanks so much for taking time to comment.ReplyCancel

  • Wow, what a HUGE list! This is great. Thanks for taking the time to come up with all these ideas and writing them down for all of us. I definitely agree that most of the time you need to just DO rather than ask or offer. I’m sharing this post with my readers!ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Tiffany,
      So glad you liked it and THANK YOU for sharing it with others. I think it’s such a great resource for anyone who wants to do things for others.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa Hoskinson

    I just wanted to say that this is a very thoughtful and well put together article. I also enjoyed that you included that God wants us to serve and love one another. Having compassion, love, and brotherly kindness is one of the most important things. Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Thanks so much Melissa! I appreciate you reading AND commenting!ReplyCancel

  • […] Be the Rainbow in Someone Else’s Cloud. How to Help When Someone Is In Need. […]ReplyCancel

  • When my husband died, several of my aunts cleaned my house and played soft music when I returned. We were out of town when he died. Also, they had removed all his medical equipment so I wouldn’t see it first thing. That meant so much to me. I can never thank rhem enough.ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Melinda,
      Thoughtful people make such a HUGE difference in our lives. So sorry to hear about your husband. Thanks for taking time to comment! Hope you are doing well now.ReplyCancel

  • Danielle

    As a cancer patient who spent a LOT of time in hospital (originally given only 3 months to live but cancer free now) the things I appreciated most were:

    1. Nurse bait – special chocolates for nurses who took care of me while in hospital.
    2. Meals for my exhausted husband. I was being looked after in hospital and wanted to know he was being taken care of.
    3. When I couldn’t eat solid food my friends threw me a ‘Smoothie Party’. They all invented/researched smoothie recipes and brought the ingredients with them and made them at home one night. We had tastings and score cards. So much fun and made the most out of a pretty average situation. I had options/recipes I didn’t have the time or energy to look up. Forever grateful for that one.
    4. Rides and company to chemo and radiation appointments – desperately scary stuff and it’s hard to expect your partner to do absolutely everything.
    5. Dog sitting /walking. I wanted to know that my beloved dogs were being taken care of while my husband and I fought for my life.
    6. Care package in hospital. Fiends dropped off a bucket of goodies, my favourite tea, a decent tea mug, crossword puzzles, magazine etc.
    7. Laughter! It was like people were often afraid that I didn’t have a sense of humour anymore because of my illness/situation. Some of my most fun times were when friends visited me in hospital and made me laugh.
    8. Brining me a decent coffee in hospital- hospital coffee sucks!
    9. I just sent a friend a package of all the things that helped me during cancer treatment – creams for radiation burns(sorbelene cream and aqueous cream, dressings that help morphine patches stay on (waterproof dressings), Biotene mouthwash and toothpaste for dry mouth from chemo, Avene thermal spray for radiation burn, Nilstat Oral Drops for thrush in the mouth from chemo, chopsticks for dry, cracked lips from chemo, Moviicol Stool Softener (not pretty I know, but the medication cases constipation and that makes you feel even worse). Ordered it all online and had it sent to them.
    10. Introductions to friends/family who’d survived cancer – everyone wants to tell you about someone they know who died from it (do NOT do that). Knowing people who had survived made me feel I could beat it too.
    11. Someone bought in my pillow from home – that made hospital a little easier.
    12. I had an iPad but would have appreciated a loan of one if I didn’t have one. It made hospital bearable.
    13. DRY SHAMPOO! In hospital it’s hard to wash your hair but you love to feel presentable for visitors. Even better if you’re willing to apply and style your friend’s hair. If they have cancer they’re exhausted! Not everyone loses their hair with chemo, don’t be afraid to ask. Even if they will help them to enjoy their hair while they have it.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Huffaker

    Thank you for such wonderful suggestions. My go to, has always been breakfast baskets. They’re quick and easy, no cooking required and as you said most people forget about this meal. Your message and great suggestions have inspired me to not wait until my friends go through a crisis. Some of these are just a great way to show your love. As my son has autism, most of my friends have kids that are on the spectrum as well. Some of these parents never get a break, as their kids can only be left with professionals. Professionals that are expensive and hard to find. The demands can be never ending. Some of your suggestions will be a great way to let the parents know I care and they are not alone.
    Any parent that has a child with special needs would appreciate being the recipient of these creative ideas. It can be exhausting, both physically and emotionally to care for our children. Many of them have challenges in their relationships. My husband and I have been fortunate, but just about everyone I know, that have that have had to face these challenges, are in marriage counseling or divorced. This is also a population that tends to have very few friends. Most moms tend to be friends with the parents of their children’s friends as they bond over play dates. With autism, our child may have few if any friends. We do meet other moms while our kids are in therapy and from support groups, but those friendships can sometimes be difficult to nurture and maintain, as most of us tend to be so geographically spread out. One thing I might suggest, reach out to the moms, who’s kids may have special needs, in your child’s school and church. Be mindful her child has no friends to invite to their Bday party. Be aware of that mom who can’t attend a Bible Study or Sunday School, maybe even worship service, as the church is not equipped to provide the care her child requires. I can tell you, most likely she is very lonely and will be very appreciative. I have read many a blog in the special needs community and a very common thread for these parents is loneliness. I am very fortunate, as my son is high functioning, but I too have felt excluded (I’m sure not intentionally) by other parents at school and church. My son is excluded, therefore so am I. Special needs aside, your blog reminds me that besides moments of crisis, everyone has day to day challenges and these are some great suggestions to add a little something good to their day. Thank so much for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • I try to go with my first inclination. If it strikes you that someone needs help, help them. Overthinking leads to inaction. After my father passed away, an acquaintance showed up at my parents house with a box filled with toilet paper, paper napkins, paper plates, disposable silverware and paper cups. It was a small but incredibly savvy gesture to my family. The number of times my family commented on the great gift was immeasurable 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Alex

    Thanks for the list! When an elderly couple at my old church both became ill, we took turns bringing them meals. They didn’t feel up to seeing people, so we kept a large cooler on their porch, and it kept hot meals warm or frozen meals cold until they came out to get them. It also prevented little animals from having uninvited snacks!ReplyCancel

  • Danielle

    Anyone have any ideas for gifts for someone that lost a pet they were very close to?ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Danielle,
      Great question!! Hope someone can contribute some good ideas, although many of these would probably still be applicable. Just letting them know you’re thinking about them and you care.ReplyCancel

    • Susan

      I make a donation in memory of the pet to the local humane society. People love it. Also, you could make a small album of photos of the pet if the person wants you to. Or if you are artistic, draw or paint a portrait of the pet. When my dog died, one friend game me a rock engraved with her name to set on the ground or keep with her ashes. I keep it inside however!ReplyCancel

  • What a wonderful compilation of creative thoughtful ideas. I am pinning this to go back on. One time that really stands out for me. Our dog went missing and was hit by a car, after a week of searching with the grace of God and our pet loving community, he was brought home to us. He had months of recovery and constant care. One day one of our loving pet friends brought a thermo dog bed and several inexpensive blankets over. She knew we had to keep washing his bedding constantly (from surgery). Having the extra bed and blankets made our life so much easier. She also brought treats for our other dog who was feeling a little left out. That gesture brought tears (and still does) to our family. I will never forget it. We often overlook when someone looses a pet. When my sweet dog of 14 years passed a friend brought me a photo album she had made for me to fill out with pics of our dog. I would have never thought to have done something like that. Kindness is all around us, I think when you said “if you think it -do it” is the best advise. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Kristina,
      Sounds like you have some good friends! Thanks for sharing and I’m glad you found this helpful.ReplyCancel

  • Carrie

    Love this list and info! Much appreciated- thank you very much! xoxoReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Carrie!
      Thanks for taking time to comment. Glad it was helpful. It’s definitely helpful for me as well!ReplyCancel

  • brenda

    Adult coloring books seem to be all the rage. I had my teenager pick one out, along with colored pencils, for her aunt who broke an ankle. I can imagine lots of friends getting this gift from me in the near future!ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Brenda,
      Ooooh, I like that one! I actually love to color. It feels therapeutic. I’m sure if I was bed-ridden for whatever reason, coloring would be a good alternate activity. Plus if you have kids, they can climb up next to you and color with you. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Anne

    Love this article, thanks so much for putting it together. I have it bookmarked and will be using some of these ideas soon. I recently made a personalized prayer/scripture book on Shutterfly and had it sent to a family that can use some encouragement. Once you have a basic one created, you can easily edit it with different names/Bible verses/etc. to make very personal gifts.ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Anne,
      That’s a really great idea. Takes a little work on the front end, but then you can use it to give to lots of different people!ReplyCancel

  • Cori

    Our 11 yr old son has been hospitalized 7 times over the past 3 years. In the unit where he stays, he has very strict visiting hours and very strict limits as to what can be brought in. Although the list of things to bring to the hospital is nice, please check with the family to make sure they are allowed. What would have really helped me out during the last 2-3 hospitalizations was to make sure our other 2 kids (and me & my husband, too, actually) had something easy to grab for lunches & dinners. I don’t know how many meals I skipped because I was too exhausted to make something and put it into a lunch-sized container to eat on the way back & forth to the hospital. I even had a lot of the food/prep items, but just lacked the energy to turn them into portable meals and wasn’t able to think clearly enough to ask someone to do it for me.ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Cori,
      So sorry about all the hospital visits. That’s got to be rough. The hospital tends to suck energy right out of me! And good idea about checking first. Totally depends on what people are in for I’m sure. The quick foods to go is such a great thing for family who has someone in the hospital. My brother was in ICU for 3 weeks and the hospital for about 5 1/2 and it was so nice to have a basket of food to munch on while we took turns sitting with him.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda

    Amazing post! Thank you so much, these are all great ideas. It’s always little things that make people’s day brighter and happier.ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Amanda,
      Truth! I think we get so caught up in thinking it has to be some big huge production. When really people just want to know that we notice them. And that we care. Little things can be HUGE!ReplyCancel

  • Julie

    When a friend who has MS became unable to move her limbs I would go over and shave her legs and underarms for her. It made her feel better and she didn’t have to ask her husband to do it for her.ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Julie–now YOU’RE a great friend. I probably wouldn’t even think of that. But I imagine she was so thankful for that.ReplyCancel

    • This is so incredibly kind & thoughtful, thanks for being inspiring!ReplyCancel

  • Bc

    Love this article!!
    Something new I am doing is finding a small purse-sized journal and putting about 20 or so Bible verses that encourage or show love and support. I have one I carry with me and in those times where you are sitting alone in a waiting room or whatnot, it’s a great comfort. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Keri

    After my ex died, someone went to the house to help and cleaned everything. They did all of the laundry and his mother was sad because she knew the clothes he had worn the day before were on his bedroom floor. Now washed and she just wanted to smell his smell again. I would suggest staying away from laundry if someone has passed away.ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Keri,

      That’s actually a really good suggestion. I personally don’t want anyone doing my laundry for any reason. Clean my bathrooms, sure! But stay away from the clothes. That’s just me. And I’d be the same way. I’d want to be able to smell them.ReplyCancel

  • JR

    Be sensitive about anniversary dates. Not everyone is into them. When my husband died, the hospice kept contacting me for every first: death date, birthday, wedding anniversary, Mothers Day alone, etc……….had to tell them to bug off, I was fine until they kept reminding me.ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      JR.
      That’s actually a really good point. I think some people may prefer NOT making a big deal about it while others may appreciate that someone remembered. Hospice I’d probably rather not have contact me. But if a friend sent a nice note or something around those times, that may be appreciated. But definitely not every anniversary.ReplyCancel

  • charlie brown

    The music list seems a bit ungodly, but I like your post.ReplyCancel

  • Sandal

    What a great list! A terrific resource when you want to do something but are unsure about what to do.

    Sometimes people assume if the husband is the one who is sick, then the wife can/will cook and no one brings meals. This is a wrong assumption as I would have greatly appreciated a few offers of meals after my hisband’s major surgery and long recovery (actually one neighbor did bring a meal and I was so grateful). Snow removal, salting and sanding is another need during the winter. Also offering to take care of pet needs (pet sitting, walking, grooming, etc.) is a big help.ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Ooooh, pet needs is a great one to add to the list. And snow removal as well. I think it’s helpful when ANY member of the family is down (husband, wife, kids….) to have help. Any disruption to the family no matter who it is….
      Thanks so much for adding those ideas.ReplyCancel

  • I am a 2 time breast cancer survivor. I was first diagnosed at age 26 in 2000 and just recently diagnosed again in same breast in Oct 2015 at age 41. Currently going through chemo and awaiting surgery date. Still haven 7 mos of chemo. Friends have been signing up to bring meals 2 times a week since December and it has been very helpful for our family of 6! People have also given gas cards, restaurant cards, Walmart cards which help tremendously! A fellow survivor even brought a chemo care package which was very thoughtful. It was full of things she found helpful during g her treatments and there were things I had never thought of eve though I had been through it yrs ago. Even just getting cards, texts meant and means a lot! When I get down I like to put my thoughts on others and just send them a note to say hello!ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Darenda,
      I’m so sorry to hear about your cancer coming back. I hate cancer so bad. Sounds like you’re a tough one though. The chemo care package from someone who has been through it is such a great idea. Would you mind sharing what was in the package?ReplyCancel

    • Pam

      Darenda ( love your name!)
      Am so sorry to hear about your breast cancer returning. I have a sister who had colon cancer and I am always terrified it will come back. I can only imagine what you are going through.
      I have a friend just recent,y diagnosed with breast cancer and would love to give her the chemo package. Can you send me a list of things in it that you particularly liked? It would be a wonderful gift that says I care.
      Thanks, and my prayers are with you – PamReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Long

    Thank you so much for doing this!! What a great thing to have. I am always wanting to do something for someone but stumped at what to do. You have made this so much easier!!ReplyCancel

  • Donna

    When my husband lost his job and we were struggling to make ends meet, my friend gave me a sweet note with a gift card to my hair salon. I thought it was the most personal and thoughtful gift! She truly put herself in my shoes and thought about what I could really use. Thanks for the great ideas!!ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Donna–what an awesome idea!! I know during periods when we were struggling to make ends meet, hair was one of the first things to get cut out. Perfectly thoughtful idea!!ReplyCancel

  • Laurie Plummer

    Wonderful ideas. I liked your idea about weeding flower beds. Also consider planting daffodils or other bulbs in the garden when someone has passed away..I have done this a few times. It was really appreciated and much more lasting than sending flowers.ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Great idea Laurie! Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Teresa

    One of the best things someone brought over when my mother-in-law died was paper goods. You know, toilet paper, Kleenex, paper towels, napkins, paper plates, plastic eating utensils, cups, etc. that person knew we would have many family and friends coming and going for awhile and we would need those things. It was great to not have to worry about running to the store for the essentials and it we didn’t have to spend time doing dishes after meals!

    Oh, and another sweet gesture was a family friend offering to iron our clothes the night before the funeral.ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Paper goods is one of my favorite ideas. “Green” people may not love it, but when people are in just get through the next day mode, paper goods are heaven.ReplyCancel

  • Susan

    When a friend was going through chemo for breast cancer, our book group did two things. One, we made a jar of inspirations for her to read. Everyone emailed them to me and I printed and sliced them up into strips to pull out of the jar. Decorated the jar with a label and ribbon.
    We also had a cooler on her front porch and people were organized by an app to bring food on certain days. We left food in the cooler in case she was sleeping. A couple years later, she asked for my recipe for chicken soup with matzo balls for another friend undergoing chemo!
    Lindsay, thanks for this list and for the guidance about how to DO SOMETHING.ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Susan,

      Great ideas!! Thanks so much for adding those.ReplyCancel

  • Pam

    I loved this. I had a friend quite a few years back that had a son who shot a bunch of people then shot himself. It rocked our community. I was talking to my mom the day it happened and I remember telling her I want to call but don’t know what to say or if she wants to even tallk to anyone. My,mom said if she doesn’t want to talk, she won’t, you need to call. It was a very difficult thing to do but oh such a right one to do! My friend just talked and talked, I hardly had to say a thing. She just needed to “get it out” and talk about the situation. It was the best advice my mom ever gave me, and now no matter how difficult it is, I always make sure I call, send a card, email, etc.. To anyone going through anything.
    Love the other ideas!ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Pam.
      Wow!! That’s a big one. It’s always hard to call, but almost always it’s the right thing to do.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda

    Hello…I can’t help but ask. I was directed to your site while trying to view a recipe on Becky Higgins pintrest board. I am not able to read the recipe and it sounds SO yummy. Please help if you are able. It’s a recipe for Almond Joy Cookie Dough.

    Thank you So much for the consideration.
    AmandaReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      I emailed it to you Amanda!ReplyCancel

      • Amanda

        I didn’t get it. Could you pretty please try again. My junk email is set really high. I will keep an eye out this time. Thank you so much!ReplyCancel

        • ltross17

          Hey Amanda,
          E-mail me at ltross17@yahoo.com Then I can reply and send the recipe and hopefully it will go through that way!ReplyCancel

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