Hobbies on a Budget: How do you show you care from a distance?

Published 7:00 am Sunday, December 11, 2016

By Sharon Williams

Contributing columnist

How many times have you told people you’re praying for them this holiday season?  We’ve all got at least a dozen people that we know who are hurting, in the hospital, overstressed, lost a job or just in the middle of a crisis. 

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We pray for them and hope that things get better.  We even offer our most sincere request for them to call if there is a need, but what if we could do something proactive and put feet to our prayers? 

Over the past few months, I’ve been talking to people and have come up with a few real life ways that we can be the hands and feet to help people when crisis hits.

Send food

This month I had a family member undergo a very serious surgery in a distant city.  The surgery took close to seven hours and my family was just stuck in a waiting room all day. 

There was no way they were leaving that hospital room while the surgery was underway. 

We knew they needed something more substantive than just vending machine food so we went online and ordered Panera Bread to be delivered right to the waiting room. 

For only a $3 charge, Panera delivered the food within 45 minutes exactly as ordered.  You can pick out exactly what you want on their website and customize it to fit your need. 

Tip:  You can even order a dozen bagels along with their specialty cream cheese spreads so the family will have something to snack on later throughout the whole waiting process. 

Turns out there are other restaurants that will deliver to hospitals as well.  To find out what hospitals do this, just call the hospital and ask the receptionist which local restaurants deliver to that particular branch.  You may just find a great food option that will help out in a crisis!

Order balloons or flowers

Sometimes a hospital room just needs a cheery balloon or bouquet of flowers.  You can call hospital gift shops and have them deliver something to a hospital room far cheaper than calling the local florist.  Just tell them your budget and what you want and then pay with your credit card.  We even ordered a bag full of candy bars to be delivered one time and just asked them to fill it as full as possible for $20.  Just ask and you may get a great option!

Send gas or restaurant gift cards

When people are in medical emergencies, there are many extra expenses.  Maybe you can send gas cards or restaurant gift cards so they can order supper without having to rely on someone cooking it for them. 

Another great option would be grocery gift cards so they can buy some of the food that works best for their family. 

Many people rely on others so much during medical emergencies that they find there are specific grocery items that they are missing. 

A surprise gift card in the mail may be just the thing they need to give them a financial boost and an emotional lift.

Check in

  When families are under stress they may not have the emotional energy to answer questions but they do need to have connections with family and friends who care.

Instead of asking a lot of questions, just send statements of thoughts and prayers through text and emails. 

They may not be able to answer, but they will appreciate your concern and know that you are in this together.

What are other ways you can put feet to your prayers when you can’t be present during a crisis?  I’d love to hear how you are making a difference to the people in your world.

For other ideas on hobbies and life, check out Hobbies on a Budget (www.hobbiesonabudget.com).