In December, my husband was laid off from a job he had worked at for more than 11 years. We were suddenly faced with no income, no health insurance and the looming holidays. Fast forward more than six months, to the day my husband finally got his first paycheck at his new job. It was a long road between those dates and we learned lots of things about what is necessary and what is not.
Do you know someone else in this situation? Here are some ways you can help a family dealing with unemployment:
- Anytime a family is in crisis, meals are a good idea whether they are brought heated and ready to eat or ready to put into the freezer. Food is nice, too. If you have extra produce from your garden or you baked an extra batch of cookies, both are thoughtful ideas!
- If a family is eligible for food stamps, there are a few things that food stamps will not buy. Those things include toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies (including dish washing soap and laundry soap), personal care items including shampoo, soap, hand washing soap, feminine products, diapers, baby wipes and more. It is SO frustrating to need toilet paper, diapers and feminine products, but have no money to buy them. Gift cards to purchase them or dropping some off at the door are some ideas for helping out a family.
- Do any of the family members have birthdays during this time? With no little to no income and watching every penny, sometimes birthdays pass by with little or nothing to give as gifts. That is no big deal for adults, most of the time, but kids care. The gifts don’t have to be expensive or grandiose, but thoughtful things are always appreciated. Gift cards to get a new book, go out for French fries or visit a local zoo, museum or amusement park are all great ideas.
- Sending applicable information about job openings suitable to the person is very appreciated. Most jobs are found via networking and “knowing the right person”, not ads in the newspaper or online. If you know of a job that might be of interest, pass on the information. You never know what will happen!
- Speaking of sending in applications, while lots of these are online, others require postage. Many bills still need to be paid via the mail. Stamps are expensive and mailing things is not cheap. A book of stamps can be a small thing with a big impact.
- If you really want to go the extra mile, put money on their utilities. You don’t usually have to know an account number, so it can be done anonymously.
- Notes of encouragement and prayers are always appreciated. It is nice to know that others out there are aware of the situation and they care.
These were just a few ideas about how to help a family dealing with unemployment. What are your ideas?
Kimberlee is a certified music therapist, SAHM, homeschooler and chef for three kids with celiac disease. She loves to read, teach guitar and hike in the mountains. Her goal is to post things that either make you smile, hum or think. Kimberlee writes about music therapy, homeschooling, and her challenges with her family’s dietary restrictions.