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How To Help

Updated on July 5, 2014

How Do You Help Others?

This page is a research and discussion, resource and exploration of persons in need. They may be down on their luck, homeless, or simply in need of a short term contribution to help them get back on track. This page is a great deal of questions for discussion. A great deal of reading suggestions (please add your own suggestions) and most of all it is an honest and forthcoming seeking to be as helpful as possible without harm.

When you are asking "How Do I" or "How Can I" help? What situations do you find yourself in? Do you help others randomly or do you make a list of people or projects you are interested in? What questions to you ask? Is there a valid time and place to help? When do you know who to help and how much help to offer? Will you be overwhelmed when called to help or will you see your circumstances as evidence you have been prepared to help? Where do you balance helping and harming? Is giving too much harmful? Who decides? If you teach someone to fish rather than give them fish... as the saying goes... is that the best way to offer a hand? What if you don't know how to fish?

So many questions and perhaps even more. As you enter into a situation what goes through your mind? Do you give without evaluation?

Image Credits: Images placed on this page by GypsyOwl are from Pixabay Public Domain Commercial Use License

Natural Desire To Help - To Be of Service...

The natural desire to help others and be of service is our heart shining love and light into the world
The natural desire to help others and be of service is our heart shining love and light into the world

The joy of helping others can not be understated. There is something so profound about the saying ''giving and receiving are the same thing'' but there are times when I focus on what I need and the receiving end to meet those needs.

Having experienced giving it is clear the saying is correct. When I my motive for giving is selfless then the giving blesses me. Paradoxes seem to confuse my mind but they make perfect sense to my heart.

Ideally, when my mind is focused on receiving, then, my reaction is to find a way to give. Because as St Francis taught us:

''The following variation on the prayer was delivered by Mother Theresa when she addressed the United Nations in 1985'' Prayer of Saint Francis

''Make us worthy Lord to serve our fellow men throughout the world,

who live and die in poverty and hunger.

Give them through our hands, this day, their daily bread

and by our understanding love give peace and joy.

Lord, make me a channel of thy peace.

That where there is hatred I may bring love,

That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness,

That where there is discord, I may bring harmony,

That where there is error I may bring truth,

That where there is doubt I may bring faith,

That where there is despair I may bring hope,

That where there are shadows I may bring light,

That where there is sadness I may bring joy.

Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted,

To understand than to be understood,

To love than to be loved.

For it is by forgetting self that one finds.

It is by forgiving that one is forgiven,

it is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.


How Can Communities Work Together To Help?

Create a welcoming and warm place for people to gather together and fellowship
Create a welcoming and warm place for people to gather together and fellowship

One of the first things that comes to mind when someone asks for help is 'is this something I can actually help with?" The next question might be "is there someone else who can assist me in this?"

These are good questions because the help you can offer at the moment may not be all there is available for the person who is in need. In fact, the collective approach often offers more in terms of long lasting results than a simple hand out. I think the term is 'hand up' now. To indicate there have been additional steps taken to give a person resources they can use to better their situation.

Our community has a twice a week community meal. No one is asked for anything. Most will help around the dining room (sweeping or washing tables after the meal). Many help in the garden, carrying groceries, or helping other guests with odds and ends. The focus is on 'community and fellowship' it is at the church but other than the prayer before the meal there isn't any pressure on anyone for any service or declaration.

We do have a fellowship following the Wednesday night dinner , Celebrate Recovery (a Bible based 12 step program),and we have Sunday service before the Sunday lunch. But attendance isn't a requirement. Everyone is invited without expectation.

Community supporters, local individuals, civic groups, and churches, participate with helping in the hall, cleaning the kitchen, and contributing financially as well as food drives.

Any community church or civic group who wants to start a community fellowship meal in their local area can promote nutritional needs as well as fellowship needs of the people. Some are struggling, some are homeless, some are simply lonely and want a place to come to fellowship.

In His Steps
In His Steps

This is one of my all time favorite stories of how one community realized how they were disconnected from the Spirit of Compassion and they set out on a journey to change the way they lived.

Many of the stories take us into comparable situations for today's lifestyles. How do we bring God's Spirit into our lives, our work, our relationships, our volunteering, and our choices in life?

Some of the decisions along the way might at first glance shock us. For example: Why would anyone make choices about their business which might align with God's Love but ultimately damage their profit margin?

Our personal walk with God can often collide with the world's lifestyles. What we choose might also effect our commitment to our innermost relationship with God and ourselves (ultimately all of those around us as well).


Teach Him To Fish - Urgent Approach

Teach him lifelong skills after he is warm fed and well enough to focus on the lessons
Teach him lifelong skills after he is warm fed and well enough to focus on the lessons

I learned from working in the mental health crisis unit there are times when we need to set aside the fishing lesson and address the urgent needs of the person. Before we can teach them to fish we do need to feed them. How else will he or she be able to focus and to learn?

So before we take out the teaching tools we will want to start with the basics and work our way through them. Food, water, shelter, medical, and someone to talk to. A someone who will listen and organize the information so someone else can find the priorities and then discuss with the person what their short and long term goals are.

But Wait!!! He just asked for spare change...

How do we respond to requests for help?
How do we respond to requests for help?

You might be thinking... I have no experience in all this. There are times when someone might ask for some spare change and if I have it I give it when I don't then I don't. What is the difference between this person and the one who might need long term assistance (you might be asking).

If he just asked for spare change he may not be as urgent a case as one might think.

There are many situations to consider. One is the person who actually survives on a panhandling compensation and another who uses the spare change they collect to contribute to circumstances which ultimately keep them in poverty.

For example:

When someone asks for spare change we can ask what the money is going to be used for.

For food: Then we might reply "Let me buy you lunch, soup, or a few grocery items"

If the person is being honest they will welcome the offer. Yet, if the money is for alcohol or other items you might reconsider helping them out.

Each of us has a choice. And each situation is unique.

Nonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals
Nonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals

If you are a leader in the non-profit sector, or just want to learn more about the basics of running a not for profit organization, this is a great introductory guide.

Giving from Your Heart: A Guide to Volunteering
Giving from Your Heart: A Guide to Volunteering

This is a great guide for people who want to participate in volunteering at their local or online non-profit organization services. Where you heart is your joy in service will follow.

Most non-profit projects depend on the consistent contribution of their volunteers. Giving of your time, talents, services, skills, or financial support is in most cases how the organization functions and thrives.


I hope you have been inspired and I would love to hear your ideas and experiences helping others or about the passion of your heart you are exploring to find a way for you to be of service in your community.


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