You found this page. That means you are someone who cares. A lot. And you already know, that it’s really easy to make a big difference with tiny gestures.
Hold your horses! The “technical” part is a bit more tricky than you think. Because your safety matters, here are a few words about the art of helping someone:
How to Help Safely and Sensibly
This is mainly about on-the-spot, random, spur-of-the-moment or impulse helping and giving. Educate yourself about the risks, benefits and etiquette of spreading kindness.
Before you go out and take loving action, consider getting more insight about the topics for each group:
Yes, there may be situations when helping a complete stranger is appropriate and divine.
Bus/plane tickets, movie or ball game tickets, vouchers, fresh food in its original packaging.
Stay anonymous at least to some degree (highly recommended), do not give personal details.
2.) The Homeless
You’ve probably read or heard it: “If I support these beggars on the street corner, they just go and get more booze. There is no need for anyone to be homeless – we have enough work here for everybody”.
Why sure, that is true for some, but dig a little deeper and these words crumble fast.
The burden of being homeless can’t be explained away, nor can it be rationalized by turning your head the other way. Giving should not make you feel bad, just because you remember too many people ignoring the fact and rather not bother.
You don’t have to empty your wallet, when you encounter a person in need.
Sometimes a bottle of water, a friendly smile, or simply a conversation with a homeless person will be the big event of their day.
Other ways to help are: gift cards, survival blankets, prepaid phones, clean and functional clothing, “Homeless Kits”, freshly prepared restaurant food in its original packaging, easy to open ready food from grocery stores (crackers, cookies, fruit. No cans, uncooked meat, fish, or expired food, please)
Toys, books, crayons, backpacks. According to the homeless coalition of Palm Beach County, Florida, there are 2.5 Million people under the age of 18 who experience homelessness each year.
Never approach anybody in an unsafe or unlit area.
Almost all larger towns in USA have coalitions for the homeless. Find their websites and get the facts you should know about your area. Volunteer your services to these local organizations – they have established programs in place.
For more resources: National Alliance to End Homelessness
It can be a very delicate matter. You will want to help, and it’s ok in most cases.
However, a friendship should not suffer because of it. You must be absolutely sure that your demonstration of love will not be misunderstood. Do not force your help on a friend – be gracious instead.
More about that later.
Here’s a helpful article from Jillee: 10 Good Intentions that Aren’t Really Doing Any Good
4.) Family Members
If you are helping a family member, precautions will vary of course. However, be very aware of pleas for help over the phone or via the internet. No matter whether you believe that you know who they are, reports are all too common that strangers are using your relative’s credentials to contact you.
Set yourself a limit that you can easily absorb.
Beware of “catfish”
Our furry, fuzzy, finned, feathered and scaly friends deserve compassion too!
It is never wrong to offer some water to an animal. Or help its owner with food or Vet bills.
Do not approach an animal that is agitated or seems to suffer from an illness, unless of course you are a trained professional.
Super important: Etiquette!
- do not appear overbearing
- don’t patronize
- don’t judge
- don’t criticize
- don’t bully
- don’t harass
- don’t inundate them with your religious beliefs or political views
- don’t berate
- don’t give unsolicited advice
One last word: unless you are specifically trained for any of the services listed below, you do not have the authority to provide any counsel or treatment. You must seek assistance from licensed professionals.
These include, but are not limited to:
- medical treatments
- mental health
- financial counseling
- legal advice
- spiritual guidance
- social services
- substance abuse
When in doubt, or if you feel like helping above and beyond, search out appropriate charities to donate whatever you can afford to give. Many times, local organizations spend less on administration, because they’re hands-on and do not spend money on national advertising.
Here are the ones that the Love & Peace Project supports and/or recommends:
Above all: realize that you can’t save the world single handedly. Millions of tiny gestures from caring individuals have more impact, than trying to solve all problems alone and at once.
Have more insights? Feel free and contact Ingrid@lovepeaceandbeads.com to add more useful information to this page
A bit of Philosophy…
“When you’re doing good, it’s not because of some distant judgment day that may or may not ever happen.
It’s not because of your faith. Nor is it to make yourself feel better.
And it certainly is not to get attention.
The only legitimate reason why you help someone is because with that, you’re elevating all of mankind. All of humanity – from the very first person on, until today and into the future.
You’re doing it, to extract the essence of the human soul and heart.
The more kindness you spread, the more of the ‘other stuff’ gets pushed out. You pass it on, you make it a habit. That makes you a teacher and a wise person.
Once you’ve fully understood that, you have made it. You passed your test.
Welcome to the next level.”
~ Ingrid Webster
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