… make a casserole.
That might sound frivolous, especially in light of the magnitude of many family challenges and problems that take place every day, but the simple act of caring for someone with a hug and a hot meal can make a real difference.
If cooking isn’t your thing, or if you live hundreds of miles away, or if you really cannot spare even one more minute no matter how your heart goes out to someone facing a crisis, consider the following options:
- Make arrangements for a local contact to pick up a meal that you have pre-ordered and paid for from a restaurant the family likes.
- Mail gift cards (for a local grocery store, fast food restaurant, or coffee shop) directly to the person or family going through a difficult time.
- Ask mutual friends living in the area to bake something and be willing to pitch in for the cost of the ingredients and their time in the kitchen.
- Ship a box filled with canned soup, a box of crackers and a package of cookies along with a cheerful card – and maybe a pretty bowl or a silly spoon.
- Purchase a subscription for a meal delivery service – or fresh fruit, tea, desserts, coffees, etc. – for someone facing a long recovery or a family dealing with financial challenges due to an illness or catastrophe.
If, however, you are handy with a whisk and potato ricer, you might prefer to cook up a favorite recipe or two that folks can use right away or freeze for a later meal. Below are links to some of our favorite comfort foods:
Please add your own recipes, links, and suggestions for foods that can be easily shared with anyone who is struggling – near or far.
So, there you are on Jane’s Day of Service – or any day of the year – sitting in the line at a drive-through, feeling impatient and hungry and distracted by all of the to-dos still left un-done on your list. You glance into the rear view mirror and it’s an older couple, or a scowling businesswoman or a young man looking out the window absently. And then you remember that everyone has a lot on their minds and in their hearts.
Paying it forward is as easy as asking the drive-through person peering at you from the window how much the bill is for the car behind you. Then you pay for all or part of their ticket. If you can spare a buck or two or five – that’s OK. If you don’t flinch at buying the 15 burgers and drinks for the soccer team the woman behind you was picking up – go for it!
Just be sure to say, “Please ask them to Pay It Forward, too. Thanks!”
And there it is – you have made someone’s day a little happier; you’ve surprized a stranger with a good deed – and ideally inspired them to do the same in their travels. Mona/Jane would be delighted!
Please share the ways you’ve paid-it-forward, and your reaction to having been the recipient of such thoughtfulness. Do you have additional ideas, suggestions, ways more people might take part? Please share them with us!