Family down on luck. How do I help?

(31 Posts)
clarexbp Fri 16-Nov-12 10:48:39

Some neighbours of ours are having a really rough time. They're a lovely young couple with three beautiful children but are (amongst other things) really struggling financially. I don't think they are going to have a very nice Christmas. I would love to help and am in a financial position to do so but don't want them to feel patronised or embarrassed. What can I do? I would prefer to do something anonymously (mystery sack of presents on doorstep, cash in blank envelope pushed through letterbox) but will this feel stalkery and / or patronising? Ideas gratefully received.

OnlyWantsOne Fri 16-Nov-12 10:49:55

do the two things you have suggested

clarexbp Fri 16-Nov-12 18:54:26

Thanks OnlyWantsONe.

KateByChristmas Fri 16-Nov-12 19:10:33

I agree (and wish I lived next door to you envy)

Maybe you could make up a light hearted poem explaining what you're doing and why.

KateByChristmas Fri 16-Nov-12 19:11:54

.... Such a lovely thing to do smile

MsPickle Fri 16-Nov-12 19:14:48

You could do a 'fake prize draw' to win something and have them win it? That's one of my lottery fantasies as a way to distribute money to those I'd know wouldn't accept a 'hand out'....I spend hours daydreaming about the print, the website to back it up etc...you found fabulous and I reckon they'd appreciate whatever you did!

UnrequitedSkink Fri 16-Nov-12 19:16:23

I just got a bit of dust in my eye... what a lovely thing to do. One day when I can afford it I'm going to do that for someone.

Goonatic Fri 16-Nov-12 19:17:43

What about an anonymous Argos voucher to get the kids Christmas presses?
You lovely lovely lady

Goonatic Fri 16-Nov-12 19:19:21

Or actually, a tesco / supermarket voucher, if they are struggling, food shopping will be the thing that they will be stashing about the most knows from bitter experience

clarexbp Fri 16-Nov-12 19:20:59

Thanks Ladies, these are great ideas. I'm a RUBBISH liar though, so I don't think I'd pull the fake prize draw off. Poem is a nice idea...I'm not terribly poetic, but I do think it would make it all feel a bit less stalky. Do you think cold-hard-cash is best, or vouchers, or presents for the kids? TBH, it's the children I'm thinking about, mostly.

clarexbp Fri 16-Nov-12 19:22:14

Oh sorry - cross post. Yes, I was thinking maybe tesco vouchers, so that they will definitely have a nice dinner. Or Argos, as they have those 3 for 2 toy deals at the moment.

decktheballs Fri 16-Nov-12 19:23:46

Presents for the dc and a small supermarket voucher? What a lovely thing to do.

Twinklestarstwinklestars Fri 16-Nov-12 19:23:58

I would do a sack of presents and a supermarket voucher if you can. Wish you were my neighbour!

Goonatic Fri 16-Nov-12 19:24:41

Yes, and also they can use tesco vouchers for pressies too if they need to! Ahhhh, you are VERY kind!

DorsetKnob Fri 16-Nov-12 19:26:40

could you do an on line shop and get it delivered?

MordecaiAndTheRigbys Fri 16-Nov-12 19:30:41

Op I think that's lovely...is someone cutting onions in here, my eyes are
blurry!!!

I'm kind of in the same situation as your neighbours right now. But I was helped out with rent and oil which was a huge help. But I'm dreading Christmas, toys and food add up. If I were you I would give a cash donations and an anonymous note saying its a gift from the community or something. That to me would be the biggest help of all, cop they can spread the money out. I know if I had a choice that's what I would do!

clarexbp Fri 16-Nov-12 19:30:59

Vouchers would be more practical, wouldn't they, but there's a bit of me that fancies the sack of pressies... One of the children is same age as my DD, so I know what I could get for her. Bit stuck for their infant-school aged girl and junior-aged boy (don't want to give too many of their details away, for obvious reasons), so any suggestions welcome. Would you drop the presents round before xmas, or on the day? Clearly vouchers would need to arrive well before.... Also, how do I drop them off undetected...? The logistics of this are going to be more complicated than I'd thought...

Marzipanface Fri 16-Nov-12 19:31:09

To be honest - I think the sentiment is lovely but if I was that hard up family and I received a food shop I didn't order I would be very very embarrassed, same as receiving cold hard cash.

Maybe a voucher through the post saying it is from a friend in a Christmas card? That way I wouldn't think it was a strange marketing ploy and chuck said vouchers away!

clarexbp Fri 16-Nov-12 19:32:17

Sorry Mordecai - cross posted. I do take your point about cash.

Sunnywithachanceofshowers Fri 16-Nov-12 19:43:56

You sound lovely OP smile

My mum lives abroad and she was mugged for her handbag. Her friend(s) anonymously had a whip round for her, and put an envelope of cash through the door with a note 'from a friend'. It restored her faith in human nature.

BettySuarez Fri 16-Nov-12 19:49:16

I would opt for vouchers but maybe go for Tesco because they could then spend it on food for Christmas or toys or both.

Couldn't you just send a card with vouchers and a brief note via Royal Mail then no chance of discovery?

You are a lovely lady smile

LifeIsBetterInFlipFlops Fri 16-Nov-12 19:53:28

You lovely, lovely person OP. I fantasise about being able to put envelopes of cash through letterboxes. I would do that, but also a little sack of pressies too...everybody loves opening them and they needn't be anything lavish.
I hope you have a really lovely Christmas.

RandomMess Fri 16-Nov-12 20:21:22

Honestly I would just drop an envelope of cash through the door perhaps with a note along the lines of "an early Christmas gift". Gives them the choice of how to meet their needs best.

Lora1982 Fri 16-Nov-12 23:14:12

tesco gift card all the way... u are so kind!!

Goonatic Sat 17-Nov-12 08:04:25

Ooh I know, tesco voucher and a stocking for the children! Go on woolworths website and you can choose by age, and see what might be suitable for the boy.

clarexbp Sat 17-Nov-12 09:43:28

Thanks Guys. You have been really helpful. No one has come back saying that I'm being patronising, which is what I was most concerned about, so I'm going to do it. I am moving towards sending some supermarket vouchers in the post (concensus seems to be that vouchers will be easier to accept than cash) and then I might wrap a few little presents for Xmas day too. Thanks for the Woolworths tip Goonatic - looks like they have some great stuff for kids. Any other suggestions for things an infant-aged girl and a junior-aged boy will like?

Goonatic Sat 17-Nov-12 21:44:35

Oh BUGGER! Just wrote a mere reply and then looked something up and it went!!!!!

Take 2:
Girl - sparkly pens, notepads, anything from Claires accessories ie hair bands, bobbles, lip balms, little bags etc, a secret diary, a nice cushion maybe from dunelm, anything Disney princesses, (jigsaws etc) maybe some earmuffs, gloves etc.

Boy- 'stomp rocket', some kind of gruesome facts book, Diary of a Wimpey Kid DVD or books, hex bugs, football, remote control insect/dinosaur, any kind of joke thing eg masks, fart sweets, snappy chewing gum etc, Lego.

Hope that helps!

Goonatic Sat 17-Nov-12 21:45:02

That would be a mega reply, not a mere reply!

clarexbp Sun 18-Nov-12 00:06:05

That's fab Goonatic - thank you for having the patience to write it all out twice :-)

Goonatic Sun 18-Nov-12 10:55:21

grin

Newbizmum Sat 01-Dec-12 04:22:09

I love the idea of helping but the greatest help might not be Christmas but perhaps paying the gas or electricity bill. It could even be the mortgage.

Yet I understand you might feel a little upset if none was spent on Christmas but if you are sure they will not squander it on iphones and booze, cash is the best offer.

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