Knowing that people want to help doesn't completely solve the problem. It would help if you were direct and forthcoming in asking for help. Vanessa Bohns, a Cornell professor and author of You Have More Influence Than You Think, describes how difficult it can be to strike the right balance.


Here are a few online resources that can help bridge the gap between people who need help and those who want to offer it. The sites make it easy to ask for support, whether it is practical help like meals or a way to communicate how and when you want to be contacted.


Here are three platforms you can use to support and connect with your loved ones: 




Families and friends can stay informed about health news with CaringBridge. 'CaringBridge can be a crisis entry point,' says CEO Tia Newcomer.


The user can post journal entries and photos on the website and then map out help requests to get much-needed support from family and friends. You can choose the level of privacy you feel most comfortable with and ask for meals, transportation, errands, visits, childcare, and pet care.


Meal Train 


Burlington's Meal Train, founded in 2010, arranges for meals to be delivered to friends and neighbors after a birth, surgery, or illness. 


The creator of Meal Train, Michael Laramee, says, 'It is so hard to ask for help, and culturally we want to show the world we are strong and resilient, so we turn down offers of support. By saying yes to just one offer of support (the organizer friend), you can allow others to be there for you in the most helpful ways.'



Give InKind 


The Malcolms founded Give InKind after their daughter Layla was stillborn to help others through difficult times.


The platform allows you, or an organizer on your behalf, to request meals, transportation, or childcare and even set up custom requests. You may also create a wish list for gift cards or other needed items or collect donations through GoFundMe or PayPal.


There are options for setting privacy preferences that indicate when you accept calls, texts, flowers, or visitors. By slowly embracing others, I could have opened up my world instead of pushing them away. Furthermore, users can embed links to Amazon Wishlists or send premade gift boxes.