How to Give Practical Help from Long Distance

How many times have you told people you’re praying for them when they are going through the rough seasons of life? We’ve all got at least a dozen people that we know who are hurting, in the hospital, over-stressed, lost a job, or just in the middle of a crisis. We pray for them and hope that things get better. We even offer our most sincere request for them to call if there is a need, but what if we could do something proactive and put feet to our prayers?

Over the past few months, I’ve been talking to people and have come up with a few real-life ways that we can be the hands and feet to help people when a crisis hits.

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How to Give Practical Help from Long Distance

Send Food

Recently I had a family member undergo a very serious surgery in a distant city. The surgery took close to 7 hours and my family was just stuck in a waiting room all day. There was no way they were leaving that hospital room while the surgery was underway. We knew they needed something more substantial than vending machine food so we went online and ordered Panera Bread to be delivered right to the waiting room.

For only a $3.00 charge, Panera delivered the food within 45 minutes exactly as ordered. You can pick out exactly what you want on their website and customize it to fit your needs.

Tip: You can even order a dozen bagels along with their specialty cream cheese spreads so the family will have something to snack on later on throughout the whole waiting process.

We discovered that there are other restaurants that will deliver to hospitals as well. To find out what hospitals do this, just call the hospital and ask the receptionist which local restaurants deliver to that particular branch. You may just find a great food option that will help out in a crisis!

Door Dash

A few weeks ago, I wanted to do something to celebrate my team that works in other states. I simply went to Door Dash and had Dunkin Donuts delivered to their door.

Spoonful of Comfort

Recently our family experienced a tough season and my coworkers sent a box of comfort food. They sent a delivery with two flavors of homemade soup, rolls, and cookies. What a neat way for my friends to show how much they cared during our difficult days. There are packages for every occasion.

You can’t always be there when a loved one is sick or struggling, but you can still show them how much you care by sending homemade soup gift packages. Whether they are ill, having a hard time in school or simply need a pick-me-up, a bowl of gourmet soup can go a long way in restoring the mind, body and soul.

Spoonful of Comfort

Order Balloons or Flowers

Sometimes a hospital room just needs a cheery balloon or bouquet of flowers. You can call hospital gift shops and have them deliver something to a hospital room far cheaper than calling the local florist. Just tell them your budget and what you want and then pay with your credit card. We even ordered a bag full of candy bars to be delivered one time and just asked them to fill it as full as possible for $20. Just ask and you may get a great option!

If you are going to the hospital in person, stop at a Dollar Tree store on the way for the best selection of balloons!

– trust me, the big box stores don’t always have the best selection!

Send Gas or Restaurant Gift Cards

When people are in medical emergencies, there are many extra expenses. Maybe you can send gas cards or restaurant gift cards so they can order supper without having to rely on someone cooking it for them.

Another great option would be grocery gift cards so they can buy some of the food that works best for their family. Many people rely on others so much during medical emergencies that they find there are specific grocery items that they are missing. A surprise gift card in the mail may be just the thing they need to give them a financial boost and an emotional lift.

We have a family member who loves Dunkin Donuts! Periodically when I know she is having a rough day or experiencing a crisis, I’ll send her a little money through the DD app. It is sent instantly with a little card so she can go get a coffee or donut and feel our love from a distance!

Transfer Hotel Points

Is the family spending multiple unplanned nights in a hotel? Do you have hotel rewards points that you can share? Did you know that most rewards programs will let you transfer hotel points to another account?


When families are under stress they may not have the emotional energy to answer questions but they do need to have connections with family and friends who care. Instead of asking a lot of questions, just send statements of thoughts and prayers through text and emails. They may not be able to answer, but they will appreciate your concern and know that you are in this together.

Just Help Without Asking

Sometimes you see a need and you know what to do without asking. If someone is in the hospital for an extended length of time, they may be stressing about the yard work, garden tasks or the trash can that is sitting out on the curb. Can you just go over and mow the yard, return the trash can or pick a few weeds? These things don’t always require permission. Sometimes its as simple as “See the need – Be the solution!”

What are other ways you can put feet to your prayers when you can’t be present during a crisis? I’d love to hear how you are making a difference to the people in your world.

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  1. The most practical thing that would help me is either someone helping with my kids and sending a meal. Both HAVE to be done, so any help opens up time for other things that need to be done during the holidays

  2. We love sending gift cards and necessities (Amazon is great for that) to help while we’re not close. I never knew Panera delivered, we’ll be checking that out for sure!

  3. That is wonderful advice, Sharon. I am very glad to know about the food delivery and also the hospital gift shop possibilities. Thank you for writing this.

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