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Caring for Friends in Need - From Across the Country

One of my dear friends just had a baby and she lives halfway across the country from me. Having a baby is challenging enough, but this is baby #3 in just over 3 years. Her oldest son turned 3 in September, her 2nd son (diagnosed with Down's Syndrome and many related health issues) turned 1 in January, and her 3rd son was born 2 weeks ago. Due to medical complications baby #3 just came home from the NICU a few days ago.

I've been working really hard to find ways to support her family, and I've finally found some avenues that feel helpful. I'm sure some of you are in (or have recently been in) the same boat - looking for ways to care for loved ones far away. So I thought I'd share what we're doing for my friend - not to brag, but to help you find creative ways to love others.

We're coordinating care efforts through a really cool website called Lotsa Helping Hands. It's a free service that allows you to post needs on a calendar that's accessible to a group of invited friends. We're using this website to coordinate meals, light house-cleaning, childcare during doctor's appointments, sending encouraging notes, and playdates for the oldest child. It's very easy to use, and a great way to involve people that want to help.

I sent an email to her out-of-town friends with opportunities for them to help.
  • Provide them a gourmet meal through Dinner Helpers, Dinner A'Fare or Super Suppers. You can give a gift certificate to cover a meal or a week's worth of meals. Ask the companies if they have special deals for new mothers.
  • Send a gift card for restaurants or prepared foods (I listed my friend's favorite local restaurants and grocery stores)
  • Send diapers. You can send a Walmart gift card for diapers or order them from 1800diapers.com.
  • And of course send thoughtful notes, care packages and encouraging emails.

Let me know if you have more ideas to support their family!

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