When Someone Needs Help, Be There

By Marjorie Foerster Eddington

It's easy to get so caught up in what we're doing that we believe we don't have time to help others. Sometimes we may not even be aware that others need help. But if we're going to be Christian, then it's important to be aware of our neighbors' needs and to be willing and ready to help them.

There are some events that are life-changing – having a new baby, the death of a loved one, moving into a new home, just to name a few of the biggest ones. At these times, helping people out makes a HUGE difference in their lives.

Here are some different ways we can help:

  1. Provide meals – some fresh and some that can be frozen and reheated. You can buy pre-prepared meals or give them home cooked meals. It's helpful to know what they like to eat ahead of time. But if you don't want to disturb them, be creative and give a variety of things.
  2. Send food – fruit, meats, cheeses, crackers, cookies, nuts, etc. This is very useful because these can last longer. It's nice not to have to cook or grocery shop. It's the last thing people want to do when major changes are taking place.
  3. If you visit, don't stay too long. When you're there, see what you can do to help—wash the dishes, put a load of laundry in. Be supportive.
  4. Send a card sharing your support. If it's regarding a passing, tell them how much that loved one has meant to you. If you didn't know that person very well, share your support and love. You can also share insights you've gained if you've had to face loss yourself. Email works.
  5. Send a congratulations card for a new baby. Tell the family how excited you are for them; share ideas, rejoice in their happiness.
  6. If you want to send flowers, you can send some later down the road. Lots of people send flowers right away. It's nice to have a fresh supply. You may want to stay away from lilies because they have a strong scent.
  7. If you're at a grocery store, text them to see if they need any food or supplies.
  8. Check in with them after awhile via phone or email to see how they're doing. Often, support comes early, yet people still need support later.
  9. If they're moving, come over and help pack or unpack boxes, or play with their children so they can focus on the job at hand.
  10. At the new home, line the kitchen shelves with shelf paper and/or help them unpack the kitchen.
  11. Help your neighbors move furniture around (furniture sliders are very useful!) so they can see where things should go.
  12. If there's a new baby, and you're confident of being acceptable to new parents as a temporary caregiver, offer to come over and be with the baby so that the mom can take a much needed nap or a shower.
  13. If you're financially able, you might want to send money in honor of a loved one, to help defer costs, or to help purchase needed items or clothes.
  14. If someone has passed, you can help the family with projects – going through clothes, re-organizing the garage, putting up shelves, redecorating certain rooms.
  15. You can help with daily or weekly chores, such as taking out or bringing in the garbage, or running certain errands for them.

Being there, giving of ourselves – time, effort, love, support, food, friendship, help – really says a lot to people. It may take a lot or a little time on our part. Whatever the gift, our outpouring of love will make a world of difference to the people we help.