Are you looking for meaningful ways to help others or how to help others without money? We’ve got 30 ways to help the needy, friends, or family that will bless them in oh so many meaningful ways.
Helping others is something Jesus modeled throughout His life and being His disciple means we imitate Him in all we say and do.
If you’re struggling with the “why should I help others” question, listen to or read this post: “What the Bible Teaches About Helping Others”.
Remember that helping others connects you with other people. It’s part of what it means to be Jesus’ disciple and helps to improve another person’s life. And above all…
As you’re looking at these ways to help others remember…you also need to be willing to accept help.
This is a lesson I’ve struggled to learn for years. Helping others is something I love to do but accepting help is difficult for me.
Together, let’s find meaningful ways to help others while also allowing people to return the “help others” favor.
Let’s dive into the 30 Meaningful Ways to Help Others.
30 Meaningful Ways to Help Others
1. Smile and be friendly.
Taking the time to smile, even at complete strangers, can be enough to change their day for the better. Make a point of making eye contact and smiling at every person you see as you’re driving, at the store, and walking from place to place.
2. Volunteer at a charity, school, or church.
I know you don’t have time but know you can find 30-60 minutes a couple of times a month. Find a volunteer led organization in your city, give them a call, and schedule a time to go lend a hand.
School districts have reading and after school tutoring programs that are always looking for help and churches …well, we just can’t do church without volunteers.
3. Donate things you no longer need or use.
Better yet, keep your old stuff and donate something new. With the Konmari craze there’s a good chance you’ve downsized or want to. Pick a room, remove everything you don’t need, and then donate it. What you’re getting rid of will determine where you donate it.
Consider organizations that
- help unwed mothers,
- inpatient recovery programs,
- homeless shelters, and
- homes for abused women.
It takes a little more leg work to go this route but the people who receive your donated items will be eternally grateful.
4. Make a financial donation.
Money is an easy thing to give and can be given to so many different places and people. Financial donations can be given to missionaries, non-profit organizations, churches, or organizations like Kiva that help women start their own small businesses.
5. Redirect your gifts.
Instead of receiving birthday and Christmas gifts, have them redirected to someone in need. The same places you donate your unused items or money to can also receive your redirected gifts. You could also contact a place like World Vision and have people gift your gifts to one of their programs.
6. Actually stop to help when it looks like someone needs it.
No, you don’t need to know them or even know they have a need – take a chance.
Don’t be unsafe about this but…how many times have you driven past someone broken down on the side of the road? Pull up behind or alongside them and offer to call AAA, a tow truck, or to go buy some gas.
Just remember, be safe.
7. Carry a mom or elderly person’s groceries to their car.
I’d even be willing to take it a step further and say “carry anyone’s groceries” for them.
Mom’s with small children and the elderly would be especially blessed by this small act.
8. Bring them a meal (without asking first).
Everyone has to eat. No one has time to cook and everyone loves a home cooked meal.
Decide who you want to bless and then tell them you’d like to bring them a meal on “x” or “y” day. Ask which day would work better for them or if there’s another day a meal would be a blessing. I know me and I’d try to tell you I didn’t need it (but would really love it) so…let them know you really would like to bless them in this way.
9. Bring them a baked good (especially if going through something tough).
If there’s one food people are unlikely to turn away it’s baked goods.
Cookies, cakes, brownies, and pies also have a way of warming the heart. Guess that’s why they’re called “comfort food”.
This one’s easy – bake something yummy and show up on the recipient’s doorstep. If they’re not home, leave it on the porch with a note, and send them a quick text.
10. Clean their house.
People will have a hard time taking you up on this one unless they have a pretty significant need. Consider being bold enough to offer helping a busy or working mom with her weekend house cleaning or to clean a specific area of her house.
This is a humbling job and some people might be embarrassed by how their house looks.
11. Take someone’s kids to school.
This can be huge for some parents. Getting the kids to school can make getting to work on time a struggle. It also means stay at home moms don’t have the luxury of sleeping in during the week.
Regardless, offering to take someones kids to school means they get a few minutes of their day back.
Who knows what this’ll allow them to get done.
12. Provide them a meal plan and do the grocery shopping for them.
This is actually two things and either can be done separately as well. Planning healthy meals is something many people struggle with. Check out this post here for meal planning help.
If you’re good at this or at least enjoy it a smidge, bless someone by doing a meal plan for their family.
Adding grocery shopping to the meal plan makes this a huge help for people who’re short on time, have a new child, lost a loved one, or are struggling with sickness or disease.
Even people who have nothing major going on will be blessed by this act of kindness.
13. Go grocery shopping for someone.
Some people hate grocery shopping and some, like me, absolutely love it. It’s also something that takes up valuable weekend family time.
Have the person you’re wanting to help provide you with their list and then do the shopping for them. This will allow them to spend that time resting or enjoying family time.
14. Help with or do someones yard work.
This is another necessary evil that some people enjoy. It’s also part of home ownership that’s a struggle for the elderly or people with health issues.
Spend an hour or two helping someone mow the lawn, rake leaves, or pull weeds.
15. Help someone who’s grieving.
You can do this using any of the items on this list or by just sitting quietly with them.
People who are grieving often just need to know they aren’t alone.
16. Just spend time listening.
This goes hand in hand with the above item.
Acknowledge you hear them and empathize with them but be careful to not offer opinions or solutions.
17. Invite someone to get active with you.
Beginning physical activity, or any form, is easier when you do it with someone else.
Sacrifice your personal exercise time and invite someone to join you.
18. Mail an encouraging card or note.
Snail mail and the act of handwriting something really goes the extra mile to show you care. These are the types of things people often save for ages.
19. Tutor someone’s kids.
This is one of my favorite ways to help others. My niece and I did this together for a year and it was a joy.
Many students struggle in school and/or their parents don’t have time (or the ability) to help them flourish.
You don’t have to be a wiz to tutor kids.
20. Get their car detailed
Whether you do it yourself or pay someone to do it, this one makes people’s day. It’s a little thing but driving a clean car (especially if the person has young kids) is so refreshing.
21. Watch their kids so the person/couple can go do something for themselves.
You can do this for an hour, overnight, or a day – you decide. Just know that any free time you provide a single parent or couple is oh so valuable.
22. Watch kids once a month so couple can have a date night.
This is an extension of the above and can also be done for a single parent. Agree to watch their kids on a regular weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis so they can plan regular “them” time.
Consider watching the kids for a weekend as well so the parent(s) can take a small mini-vacation.
23. Go over and help batch cook or meal prep so person(s) has an easy week of meals ready to cook/eat.
Any and everyone will be blessed by this one. Help them prep things so they’re chopped and ready for cooking or fully cook meals to store in the fridge and freezer.
24. Help declutter and Konmarie for someone.
Reassure them that this offer isn’t made because they’re messy but because they indicated wanting or needing to do something like this. Ask them which room they’d like help with and don’t let them wiggle out of it.
25. Meet them for a weekly cup of coffee to study God’s Word and do discipleship.
You don’t need to be a Bible scholar to do this, just have a desire to draw closer to God. There’s a lot of people who don’t have time or don’t know how to study God’s Word.
You could also just meet them for coffee and begin doing life with them. From there God may open the door for Bible study.
26. Teach a skill you have.
- car repair,
- hair and makeup styling,
- business, computer, or social media skills.
This is something that can be done to help a group or individual.
27. Pick up the phone and call someone
and yes, I said call, not text.
Maybe you live far away from a friend or family member you know is going through a hard time. Dial their number and let them hear your voice, not just your words typed out on a screen. Listen to them, encourage them, pray with them.
Voice-to-voice contact is a powerful way of connecting.
28. Make a gift basket.
This can take a variety of forms based on who you’re making it for. Know a freshman in college away from home? Put together a care package of snacks, toiletries, and a gift card or two.
How about a friend who’s come down with the flu? Buy some Kleenex, vitamin c, a few cans of soup and some oyster crackers.
Get creative and have fun with this one!
29. Treat someone to lunch or dinner.
If it’s in the budget, text a friend who could use a meal together and offer to pay up front (without being weird about it… we all know how that goes).
Ask the Holy Spirit to use that time as a time of encouragement.
30. Give someone a hug.
Have you ever had someone give you a really good hug? Not just the ones that are a half-hearted arms around someone’s shoulder, but the ones where someone wraps both arms around you and gives you a good squeeze for a solid 10 seconds
Helping others is such a wonderful thing. I pray this list has helped you find the meaningful ways to help others you were looking for.
Here’s a PDF with the 30 Meaningful Ways to Help Others: 30 Meaningful Ways to Help Others
I want to leave you with a verse, Luke 6:38.
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”