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Lending a Hand

Posted on January 15, 2020
By Paul Born
Lending a Hand

Every week, for one year, you can relieve an inspirational message that often has very practical ideas for deepening community. 

You can easily sign up for these by going to the website built to provide you with a gateway to my book. Check out this inspirational message, "Lending a Hand"

We’ve all said it: “Let me know if I can do anything to help!”.

And yet we all know that it is unlikely that we’ll be asked to help with anything. Most often when we ask this question, we know that someone is in a situation where they need assistance. Someone is ill, injured, grieving, just had a new baby, or is overwhelmed with an issue or a task.

Often when we say, “let me know if you need help,” we really do want to help but we think we don’t know what would be helpful. The truth is that, deep down, we all know what people need because we have been there ourselves. Perhaps it wouldn’t be too much of a leap to just go ahead and do those things without them having to ask.

Here are five things that almost anyone needs help with when they are in a hard situation:

  • Drop a meal off at their place. Just find out when someone will be home and drop it off. Include everything they might need to eat it right away or throw it in the freezer. Don’t forget to write your name and number on the serving dishes or Tupperware so they will know who to return it to.
  • Just knock on their door and ask for the grocery list. Just get the list, do the shopping and deliver the groceries.
    Make a concrete offer and give options of appropriate times. For example: Offer to pick the kids up after school and take them out to dinner or, offer to do a load of laundry at a specific time.
  • Mow the lawn, shovel their sidewalk, rake their leaves, weed their garden- these tasks are quick to fall to the wayside during difficult times.
  • Keep reaching out. Call, email, drop-in. Just be there. Being in a difficult place can be lonely and knowing that you have a support system in place makes the world of difference.

This week, think about some ways that you could lend a hand without being asked and observe how it is received.

Paul Born, Community Change, Cities Deepening Community

Paul Born

By Paul Born

Paul Born grew up as the son of Mennonite refugees. This is what has made him deeply curious about and engaged in ideas that cause people to work together for the common good. Paul is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Tamarack Institute and the Founder and Director of Vibrant Communities. He is the author of four books, including two Canadian best sellers. Paul is a global faculty member of the Asset Based Community Development Institute (ABCD) and a senior fellow of Ashoka, the world’s largest network of social innovators.

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