7 Practical Ideas for Loving Your Neighbor

By: Anita Hampl

Even the best-intentioned people tend to shy away when a neighbor or friend is having troubles. It may be because we just dont know what to do. When someone you care about is facing illness, job loss, fire, or death in the family, these seven tips may help.
1. Let the neighbor know exactly what you are going to do for them.
It creates an extra burden for them when you ask what you can do. They have enough on their minds, and may simply tell you everything is under control. It is better to suggest what you can do.
2. Bring a meal, or part of a meal.
It is kind to ask if there are any allergies or particular dislikes. As long as you avoid extreme spices or complicated dishes, anything that you bring will be enjoyed and appreciated. In general, it is best to bring food in disposable containers.
3. Offer to run errands.
People do not want to feel burdensome, even when their world is in chaos. Offering to stop and buy milk, or drop off a suit at the cleaners, or to pick up prescriptions can be very helpful. Being specific can help them think more clearly.
4. Take children to appointments.
Maintaining as regular a schedule as possible for children is important. This will help relieve their fears, keep them in contact with their peers, and hopefully tire them out so sleep schedules can be kept!
5. Mow a lawn or scrub a tub.
How many people stop and clean the bathroom or the family room before rushing to the hospital? Raking leaves or mowing a lawn is a practical gift to someone who cant get around to it. Having a neat place to come home to, or to recuperate in, is priceless.
6. Offer to be the communications director.
Often the family members need sleep, but they dont want to ignore friends and family who call to check up on them. You can let it be known that youll send out updates and will be happy to field calls from your circle of friends or co-workers.
7. Please understand that you are NOT intruding.
People can feel invisible in their troubles, or that their situation might be contagious. It can seem like everyone has abandoned them. Small, simple gestures, phone calls or text messages, can be enough to remind someone that they are not forgotten.

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Having been blessed and cared for by her neighbors in times of family distress, Anita Hampl has a good perspective on how to show similar acts of mercy. She invites you to send an unexpected greeting card to someone you care about, for under a dollar, today!

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