Friday challenge: help somebody who's struggling financially this week

Andy Rau

Feeling the pinch of high fuel prices these days? Whether you drive a Hummer or a Prius, it's a safe bet your budget has been smacked by this latest round of fuel price hikes. I had a personal epiphany about this a few weeks ago when, planning a trip downtown to the bookstore to purchase a novel, I realized that the cost of the gas required to get there would exceed the cost of the book I wanted to buy. Ouch.

There are plenty of people out there for whom rising fuel prices is not just an inconvenience, but a serious financial crisis. Maybe they were having trouble making ends meet before gas hit $4.25 a gallon. Maybe they've got an unavoidable long commute to work. So I have a challenge for you, ThinkChristian readers and contributors alike: Sometime in the next week, think of somebody in your community who is struggling financially, and do something to help them out.

One obvious way to help is financially—a gift card from the local gas station or grocery store, dropped off with a friendly and anonymous note, could come in handy for somebody living on a tight budget. But there are other ways you can help if that's not a good option. Here are some ideas:

  • Offer to run a few errands for them. (And consider buying their next round of groceries, or borrow their car and then fill up the tank with gas while you're at it.)
  • Talk to them and find out what regular errands they run, and combine your weekly/monthly errands with theirs. Carpool with them to the market, the mall, wherever.
  • Offer to drive them to/from work (or their kids to school) for the next week, or every Tuesday, or whatever works best for them.

Be creative. The goal is just to help somebody who's having a rough time financially this summer; the exact way in which you help them should be appropriate to their situation. But however you do it, I hope you'll do something. So take the challenge this week, and leave a comment below about it to inspire the rest of us! You have one week—I'll post next Friday to ask what you did!

(Oh, and if you are accepting the challenge, vote in the poll off to the right and tell us how you're doing so!)