Early on this summer one of our friends was in a major accident. We’re thrilled he’s doing great now, the neck brace is off and the whole family is on the mend. While Alison and I have been advocating helping friends in need for years, I have to say I learned more this time than ever, as three of us coordinated food and help for the family from about 50 dedicated friends.
We used a site called www.jooners.com to organize meals. It was super easy to set up, and people could sign up for the night they would bring a dinner. First, I quizzed the family on their likes and dislikes (no eggy dishes or green peppers), and added some additional advice such as to put food in containers the family could keep or dispose of (nothing worse than having to figure out who belongs to what in the midst of everything else going on), to bring food by 5pm, and to knock and say hello but to know they might be too tired to entertain.
Food is clearly the most vital and welcome help to people in need. Also valuable was a master email list of friends offering to help with playdates, picking up paperwork, or anything else they might need. Some of the most creative offers of help also involved food: Friends pitched in to pick up CSA boxes, and even to cook dishes for the family with CSA produce. Another friend weeded and watered the vegetable gardens. I helped a bit too by taking all of their basil, combining it with mine, making a huge batch of pesto and freezing it for later. It was truly an example of a community lending their collective energy to help our friends.