I need some advice.

Here is my dilemma:

We have a neighbor, J, who has a toddler. Her boyfriend, the baby’s father, lived with them at one time, but I haven’t seen him lately and am not sure if he’s still around (I never saw him often, so he probably is). J’s mother lives in the building as well, but as far as I know she’s in another apartment. At her request, we leave our recyclables for her to collect the return on. (They probably think we are terrible alcoholics, but HAHAHA that’s another story.)

J has asked to borrow a dollar now and again, and a few weeks ago asked to borrow $20 for diapers and milk. I have always helped her out and she’s always repaid me.

Last night we got home to a note on our door, asking for another $20. We don’t have it (I have always loaned her money out of my grocery money and this week’s is spent). I wrote a note back, apologizing and asking if there is anything else we can do to help.

I’m not looking for advice on whether I should be helping J when I’m able to or whether I should feel bad when I can’t; I’m pretty confident in the answers to both of those. What I would like is any ideas you may have for nice things I can do for them. Baking cookies, for example–but maybe that wouldn’t be so nice, if they are low on food-food? I don’t know how to approach this. I do have some outgrown clothing of Grace’s, which I’m going to sort out for the baby, and some old toys I may offer them.

Any other ideas?

7 thoughts on “I need some advice.

  1. Sonja

    December 14, 2014 at 12:32pm

    I think cookies and hand-me-downs are a good idea. You could invite them over for dinner, if you want to do more. Perhaps there are some toys your kids are done with that could make a Christmas gift for the little one?
    Otherwise, I think it’s ok to give when you can and not give when you can’t.

  2. Wendryn

    December 14, 2014 at 2:45pm

    If she’s having money/food problems, you might get a list of food banks and maybe WIC and say something like “I can’t help much right now, but you might try these places.” It’s awkward, but it might help her more long term than coming back and asking.

  3. Nina

    December 14, 2014 at 4:00pm

    What about the “oh I have a bunch left over?” thing. Like “oh, I have a whole pan of lasagna/casserole/something left over?” Something freezable, maybe?

    You are good people.

  4. Michelle

    December 15, 2014 at 9:24am

    invite them over for supper. More then anything else, building and maintaining relationships is the best thing you can do. For both of you.

  5. Amanda

    December 15, 2014 at 1:39pm

    Would she be/could she be someone to trade babysitting with?

  6. Swistle

    December 15, 2014 at 2:53pm

    That is an interesting conundrum. Nothing is coming to mind. Well, except sometimes I buy stuff that then we don’t eat: like, the kids are on a Cheerios kick, and I can barely keep them in the house, and then suddenly the kick is over and I have two full boxes of Cheerios. If that ever happens to you, too, and you have anything extra, it’s the sort of thing I might offer to her.
    Swistle´s last post ..What Do You Do with the Leftover Cards?

  7. Annika

    December 17, 2014 at 8:26pm

    So, today I knocked on her door and told her I was going to the store and could I bring her anything? She asked for some milk. I brought her a gallon of milk, a box of cheerios, a loaf of bread, turkey and sliced cheese, a bag of salad mix, and a bottle of salad dressing. I have no idea how they eat but that seemed like a relatively safe selection. I brought it to her and she cried and I cried and I feel even worse now. Like. I am not sure they had any food. She and her mom and her boyfriend were sitting together with the baby. If I had any more money I would bring them so many things.

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