5 Ways to Help
Do you know someone in your world that needs help? That needs to know someone cares? With compassion and love being at the center of why we share our lives with people in need, we thought it would be an excellent idea to share with you these 5 ways you can love people in need in your community.

1. Adjust your thinking. This is number one on the list because it’s the most important. People that find themselves in poverty, for whatever reason, are people like you and me. They have families. They have kids. They have friends. They have stress and they have joy in their lives. They have dreams and goals for themselves and their family. In short, they are human! Remember to treat them the same way you would any person you care about: With love, care and compassion. You are not their savior. They don’t need your pity. They need your understanding and your respect. They need you to believe they aren’t helpless. Like the rest of us, they need to know someone cares and that someone will listen to them and be a friend to them and their family without judging them or trying to “save” them.

2. Build relationships. The only way to get to know anyone is to spend time and effort getting to know them. And letting yourself be known. You know, the process of becoming friends with someone! Some ideas for relationship-building activities:

• Go to the park together and take the kids for a picnic.
• Go to church together.
• Invite your friend and her family over for dinner.
• Attend community events like parades or reworks together.
• Walk or run shared neighborhoods together to get exercise and talk.
• Invite your friend to meet your other friends at a get together at your house such as a weekend lunch or a fundraiser for your kids' school.

Those are just a few ideas, but you get the point: Look for ways you can build your friendship that will deepen bonds and build trust between the two of you.

3. Look for signs of needs while doing ‘life’ with your friend. While you are building your relationships, be attentive and look for needs - both tangible and “felt” needs. Tangible needs include food, clothing, furniture or funds. “Felt” (and very real!) needs might be depression, sadness or hopelessness or simply just a need to know someone cares. As you build your friendship, it will become easier and more natural for you both to share your struggles and hardships. It will also become natural for you both to share and look for solutions to those struggles and hardships too. Remember, the goal is not simply to help your friend, but to share your lives with each other - helping one another along the way.

4. Connect your friend to sources of help. The first source of help is you! Of the needs you identifed in tip #3 above, can you meet any of them as a friend? Can you lend a listening ear to some “felt” need your friend has? Are their ways you can encourage and give hope to your friend? Many times, simply listening is enough - your friend, like the rest of us, may just need someone to listen and care! For the tangible needs, you can connect your friend to Sharing Life. We have an array of programs and services to help such as:

• Food
• Clothing
• Utility bill payment assistance
• Household items and furniture
• Career training in the nursing field
• Personal finance training and coaching

We can also help with referrals to other services such as social security, disability, SNAP, Texas Workforce Commission and other private social aid agencies if we don’t offer a particular service. Find out more at SharingLifeOutreach.org. Email us and let us help you help your friend!

5. Celebrate the victories! Let’s not forget to celebrate life’s successes with your friend! Did one of their children achieve a milestone of some kind at home or school? Send a card or treat to celebrate! Did your friend achieve a goal such as enrolling in college or getting a new job? Give a gift card to them that could provide school supplies for their classes or provide work clothing or help cover transportation costs to and from work. And don’t forget to share your life’s victories too! That’s what friends do!

The bottom line is to realize there are people in need all around you no matter where you live. Reach out to your neighbors and those in your world to let them know you care and build relationships! You will not only be glad you did because you will have new friendships, but you will be a part of making your community better! 
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