One of my most vivid childhood memories is trudging through the snow to bring a meal to an elderly couple in our neighborhood. Sometimes, if they were up for it, they’d invite me in and insist on an impromptu piano recital. I’d sit on that ancient, padded bench and play my best Für Elise, knowing I’d be rewarded with a lollipop or a roll of pennies.
While I’ve held onto my child’s eye view of that experience— the cold of the snow, the weight of the Tupperware containers in my mittened hands— it’s only since becoming a mother that I truly understand its value. We were doing what we could in a neighbor’s time of need.
Everywhere I look, it seems that there are families who are hurting. It’s not limited to grieving families on my television screen, either— there are friends and neighbors and online acquaintances who are suffering unimaginable loss. It’s a helpless feeling to know of others’ pain and to not know what to do to ease it.
Recently I spoke to a friend who was recovering from major surgery. Since our children are the same ages, I could only imagine the toll her recovery was taking on the family. I explained that I wanted to help, and to my surprise she told me a specific way that I could. I was grateful. I realized how rare that is; it was a gift to me to be able to help in some way.
Is there a family in your life that you’d like to help out? Maybe they’re grieving the loss of a loved one, maybe there’s an extended illness in their home, or perhaps a recent job loss has caused chronic financial and emotional stress. Here are 10 ways you can offer your support.
Have something to add? Please leave your ideas in the comments!
More by Mary Lauren