I just heard that friends, a family of ten, had a house fire yesterday and lost all their possessions. I don’t know the details but I do know they were home and thankfully everyone made it out safely.
A year and a half ago our family went through the same thing and I learned so much through the extraordinary support of our amazing community.
I offered to make a list of some things that were very helpful to us after our house fire to give some guidance to people who want to help but don’t know what to do. If your heart is hurting for this family I have some suggestions for how to express your care and concern:
1. Send money. This is quite simply the most helpful thing you can do. No amount is too small. Don’t worry about a card or writing something eloquent. Fill out a check and send it.
2. Send a gift certificate to stores like Meijer, Target or Walmart. The family will be able to buy groceries, clothes and many home items. Again, don’t worry about the amount. Every little bit helps.
3. Give clothes or home items. Be really thoughtful here. In this family everyone is under 40, if you are 85 and thinking about donating your sweet cruise wear from 1987, just don’t. They’ve already been through enough!
4. Buy groceries or make food. Once the family is settled in a new house buy them groceries or bring them meals. Make a big casserole in a 9×13 and leave the pan as a gift or use disposable containers.
5. Write a card/email/facebook post. Keep it brief. “I’m so sorry. I’m thinking about/praying for you” doesn’t seem like much but it really is more than enough.
6. Spread the word. Tell business owners and anyone you know. You will be amazed how many donations are given.
7. Pray. I know it wasn’t very spiritual of me to put this last, but if you are a person who prays, you started as soon as you heard the news. Keep it up.
We were astonished and humbled by the extraordinary generosity of our community. It was a beautiful and bright light shining in the darkness.