Ten Caring Ways to Help a Neighbor in Need
Being “neighborly” is declining: a 2018 survey from Pew Research revealed that a majority of Americans admit to knowing only some of those who live on their street, while 23% of those under the age of 30 know none. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Studies have shown that micro-interactions increase life satisfaction—meaning that even a nice comment in passing can brighten your day, as well as your neighbor’s. We can each do our part for our neighbor in a time of need, and support each other.
Ten nice things to do for your neighbor
You might not think that when you help others, you help yourself—but it’s true. When people do good, the brain releases “feel good” chemicals, like oxytocin and serotonin. You feel more positive, fulfilled, and connected to those around you, and your self-esteem rises in the process. If you need some awesome ideas for how you can help your neighbor, we’ve compiled a list of ten nice things to do, below.
1. Bring over a home-cooked meal
Bringing over a delicious meal that you made yourself is a wonderful act of kindness. A mother with a new baby, an elderly next door who has trouble cooking, a family struggling with a medical situation—they will all appreciate your efforts. It also doesn’t cost much, and a meal can be easily prepared in advance.
2. Offer a small gift
Small tokens of appreciation go a long way toward forging a friendly connection with your neighbors. Bake some homemade cookies, or simply layer all ingredients in a jar together with a handwritten recipe for an inexpensive but delicious gift. A gift can also come in the form of offering your time or help, like offering to collect mail while they are on vacation, or helping with minor home repairs if you’re handy.
3. Start a fundraiser
If you know your neighbor is struggling financially, crowdfunding is one of the best ways to help a family in need. Use a fundraising platform, so more of what is donated goes directly to your neighbor, and ensure success by first brainstorming a few fundraising ideas. Remember to always check with them before starting a fundraiser on their behalf, to make sure they’re on board.
4. Help anonymously
Sometimes, asking for help or offering assistance is difficult. The nonprofit My Neighbor In Need makes it easier to give and receive, by anonymously matching those in need with resources donated by people who want to help. The nonprofit currently serves counties in both Montana and Wisconsin.
5. Start a carpooling group
One of several excellent ways to help is to start a carpooling group in your area. Consider a carpooling group for taking kids to and from school, or share rides with neighbors who work in the same area or complex. You and your neighbors can save both time and money, as well as wear and tear on your vehicles.
6. Organize neighborhood playdates
If you have kids yourself, help take some of the load off a working parent by watching their children for an afternoon. Organizing playdates is not only good for the kids, but will up your time and your neighbor’s as you alternate. It’s a win-win for everyone.
7. Partner with a community organization
Community organizations are a great way to connect with your neighbors and become more aware of what’s happening in your area. These groups also empower you to make a difference in the lives of those around you.
- Help Your Neighbor exists to connect people within the same communities, who want to share resources and offer support. The website lets you build a virtual community in any city and neighborhood in the US.
- Neighbor 2 Neighbor empowers residents of the Nashville area to come together and create a safer neighborhood for all. They offer team building workshops to help you build an effective neighborhood organization.
- A nonprofit organization, Neighbors Helping Neighbors, is dedicated to helping Rhode Island families stay in their homes. Their main focus is to help with necessary home repairs or alterations, so that residents in need always have a safe and livable home.
8. Start a community project
Starting a community project is a great way to bond with your neighbors, while supporting a cause you all care about. Some ideas for ways you can help your community include working together to expand a local animal shelter, starting a community garden, or starting a school fundraiser.
9. Offer a listening ear
In our fast-paced world with busy schedules, we could all use the opportunity to slow down and connect with others on a personal level. Consider paying them a visit, and simply offer a listening ear. Ask them if there’s anything they need – perhaps you have an elderly next door who needs help running errands, or a single parent who needs help keeping up with yard work.
10. Plan a fun neighborhood event
Fundraising events involving the neighborhood are a fun way to connect with the people in your area, while supporting a good cause. Host a barbecue night or a benefit dance, or consider throwing a simple dinner party.
Examples of crowdfunding to help your neighbor
If you’re thinking, “I want to help my neighbor, but don’t have much myself,” there are still ways you can help. By simply setting up a fundraiser, you have already played a vital role in helping your neighbor. Take a look at some examples of how people in areas just like yours are helping their neighbors in a time of need.
When Jacob found out that his elderly neighbor Paul had a roof that desperately needed repairs, he immediately set up a fundraiser with a few friends. The cost for a new roof came to several thousands of dollars, which Paul could not afford by himself. Jacob’s fundraiser was a success, raising more than $7,000 to help Paul afford a new roof.
During a storm, a giant tree fell in the middle of Jenn and David’s home—severely damaging the house and totaling their car. Insurance deductibles alone would cost the family thousands. Their neighbor, Patty, saw a way to help and quickly set up a fundraiser. To date, she has raised more than $27,000 to help Jenn and David rebuild.
After a drainage pipe for Freddi’s pond collapsed, a sinkhole formed in her driveway—making getting to or from her home dangerous and difficult. The quote for repairs was in the thousands, which Freddi could not afford on her retirement income. Her neighbor Gary organized a fundraiser, and raised more than $6,500 to fix the sinkhole and repair Freddi’s driveway.
You can help your neighbors today
If your neighbors are in a difficult situation and need help, you can be a lifeline by starting a family fundraiser. Through your fundraiser, you can bring hope to one of your neighbors in need, and prevent an unfortunate situation from turning into a personal financial crisis. Sign up today, show your support and make a difference for someone in a time of need.