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I’ll never forget the moment I received the news that my friend’s perfectly healthy, beautiful, joyful little 3 year old girl was… gone.
One minute she’s happily playing in the park with a sniffly nose, the next minute, she’s in hospital on life support. A complication from the common cold and just like that, her Mummy and Daddy were saying goodbye forever.
What do you say? What do you do? As a young Mum myself, I couldn’t imagine my whole world being ripped away from me. How could I function in a life without my world?
As days went by, friends, family and strangers sent flowers. Hundreds (probably thousands) of dollars worth of flowers. A gesture we do during terrible times because “that’s just what you do, right?”
I happened to have some inside info that little Maddy’s Daddy suffered hay fever, so while I have no doubt that the flowers brought some brightness to the families darkest days, the flowers wilted away out of sight. I thought surely, there must be something more useful out there to help this beautiful family get through each hour of each day, and the long road ahead of them.
So, I jumped online and searched for something. Cleaning? Washing? A meal delivery? A lawn mower man, perhaps? But I didn’t want to just organise this on their behalf and have some stranger rock up to their doorstep, not knowing their situation and asking to scrub their toilet. I didn’t even really know what they needed… their neighbour may be mowing their lawn when they do their own, their freezer may be full to the brim with meals. I decided to do an online grocery shop, put my friend’s address into the system instead of mine, and did a pantry staples and essentials order instead.
But it got me thinking… the world needs to shift their thinking. We need some options. We need an alternative to flowers, and we don’t always live close enough to drop around on their doorstep and offer domestic help (it’s not always appropriate to do so, either).
And so, on 18 February 2016, exactly 2 years following the death of Miss Maddie, the Helpful Love movement was launched.
Helpful Love is a community of awesome service providers who have signed up to offer useful, practical support during times of loss. They have been briefed on the circumstances, and understand that those calling up with a Helpful Love Gift Voucher are going through a tough time, and need some quality support, and with some extra love and sparkle.
The Helpful Love solution works in two ways. Firstly, it is a directory of vendors available for each area we service, so you can browse an area and contact the vendor of your choice directly.
The current Helpful Love Directory:
Newcastle – Eco Professional Cleaning Co, Counselling for Your Peace of Mind, Happetite Food, Alternative Therapies Today, Tender Loving Cuisine, MANA Lawns and Handyman Service, Vibrant Concepts, Sweet Love Photography, Mick’s Mobile Auto Services, Dunn and Dusted, Kim Mackenzie Musician.
But if you’re not exactly sure what they need, you can purchase a Helpful Love Gift Voucher from our online store ($50, $100, $200, $250, $500), which we can send directly to the recipient, or we can send it to you to give to them personally. The recipient can then jump on the website and browse the directory themselves, and make contact with their preferred vendor to book or purchase exactly what they want, when they need it.
So next time you find yourself in a situation where your mind automatically defaults to “Let’s send flowers”, you may like to consider something a little more useful and practical. A gift of Helpful Love.