copyright 2015 Chris Smith All rights reserved.
These are just some ideas. Use your best judgment and discretion. Please do not ever take on more responsibility than you are physically, emotionally, mentally, and/or financially capable of.
1. Prepare a meal, or make a huge batch of food, and portion it up, and take it over to them (be sure to take into account any dietary needs, medical issues, requirements or food allergies/sensitivities they might have before you make anything).
2. Help them, or get a bunch of friends together and go over to their house and have a big "Chore Day" and do some basic chores (laundry, cleaning, yard work, dishes, pet cleaning, dusting, vacuuming, etc.). Be sure to bring your own work gloves, or cleaning gloves, mask, or any other cleaning necessities or protection.
3. Do some errands for them, or help them do their errands by lending an extra hand, or a driver (i.e. you). Don't offer to drive if you do not have a valid driver's license or a working car.
4. Buy them a gift certificate for the grocery store, pet store, or baby store they shop at.
5. Offer to baby-sit.
6. Be there just to listen with love. Leave your own judgment at the door.
7. Take them out to a meal, or give them a gift certificate to a restaurant.
8. Movie theater gift certificates are great too.
9. Offer them a ride to your place of worship or a fun outing (concert, even, etc.) the next time you're going.
10. Help them pack and/or move. Be sure you are able bodied and healthy before you offer. If not, you could just go over and offer moral support, or offer a meal while they move.
11. If they read, buy them a book, music or audio CD or DVD that might help them, or give them a brief escape (you can even look for cheap used books) or gift certificate to a book store.
12. In a world of digital exchanges, sometimes picking up the phone and giving little words of encouragement can make huge impressions. Even saying something simple like, "Hey, just thinking of you and sending my love."
13. Offer to take care of their pet for them while they get back on their feet. Obviously this is a big one, so don't do it unless you feel totally comfortable with the pet in your house, don't have allergies to the pet, don't have a problem with the pet around your children or around your other pets (if you have them), and are willing to take responsibility (i.e. food, behavioral issues, health issues whether known or unknown, and veterinary costs) for the animal as long as it is in your care. They may not be able to financially assist with the cost of the pet while it's in your care. Also, the stress of the situation on the pet, may cause the pet to exhibit some unusual stressors in a new environment, and you should be aware of that as well and be willing to deal with that or don't offer.
14. Take them some fresh flowers from your garden or fresh fruits from your fruit tree as a nice gift.
15. Invite them to go on a walk with you, a swim in your pool (if you have one and they swim) or join you for a yoga class or join you for a work-out at your gym.
16. The biggest gift is to be kind, loving, and understanding. It doesn't mean you have to pamper people. I think most people would rather be treated normally. They may not want to talk about it all. Treat them how you would like to be treated if your life was being ripped to shreds.
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