My husband being laid off  has made me aware of so many things that had honestly never crossed my mind before.
For one thing, it is not as easy as I had previously thought to "just go get a job". Yes, Walmart may have "Now hiring" sign, but that doesn't mean they will hire a 47 year old man with a college degree and 17 years of experience in the golf industry. (Overqualified much?)
Secondly, friends and strangers from far and near have helped us in so many ways that I wouldn't have considered doing for others before now.
Here are a few things that have been helpful and encouraging to us that you may be able to do to help someone in your church or your neighborhood.
(Please, know I am not hinting that I want MORE of these things. We have a full pantry and freezer, thanks to the generosity of friends and the provision of God. Use this information to do good for others who need it, if you feel led.)
- Garden fresh produce - Friends have blessed us with fruits and vegetables from their gardens. We have been able to use those things for many delicious meals that we haven't had to spend money on. (Remember, our goal is to keep paying our mortgage as long as we can.)
- Groceries - We have a pantry full of rice, beans, pasta, canned vegetables, and more, thanks to many of you.
- Milk, diapers, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, etc. - These are things we use every day.
- Walmart gift cards - We have used these to buy essentials, like toilet paper and light bulbs. If you don't know what items a family needs, this is a perfect contribution.
- Ice cream sandwiches and Sonic/Starbucks gift cards- Since we are only buying absolute necessities, these little luxuries are so refreshing. We would never buy these during this time, so it is a nice treat that someone provided them for us!
- Money - A few folks have given us money, which we have used to pay the electric bill, pay the mortgage, fill our cars up with gas, etc.
- Invitations to swim - We have gotten invitations to swim at friends' pools and even received some city pool passes in the mail from an anonymous sender. Taking a cool dip in the pool makes the hot summer days a little more tolerable.
- Help wanted notices - It has been encouraging when people pass along word that they know of a job opening, or clip help wanted ads out of the newspaper. Even if the job doesn't work out, it feels good knowing folks are rooting for us and keeping their eyes open for opportunities.
- Coupons - It's nice to have extra coupons to look through to try to get the best possible deal on necessities. Every little bit adds up!
It is very humbling to accept these things from people, to not be able to get them for ourselves. But the fact is that we need this help right now, so we are laying down our pride and gratefully taking what is offered.
I used to think that I might offend someone if I offered them financial help or groceries, that they might think I was somehow looking down on them. I now know that there are plenty of people who would be thankful to have the things I mentioned above.