When Dianne was in active treatment for her cancer (chemo, surgery, radiation), we had an army of people providing things for us. God was doing an extraordinary thing for us, and we knew it and were (and still are!) very grateful that he provided so abundantly!
The most common thing was meals – and what meals they were! Only the best, usually completely home-made from scratch and enough for three days. Think Thanksgiving at Grandma’s house, Christmas with the in-laws and Easter with your best friends. That was the quality of food we were getting.
This was happening three times a week, every week, for more than nine months. We were certainly cared for very well in that arena.
Occasionally somebody would give us a gift card for a restaurant instead. And that was a different kind of treat. We could go whenever we felt like it, it was usually to someplace we wouldn’t normally go, and we got to choose the food, or have a variety of things. And gift cards are better than giving money – money would probably go to an existing expense rather than to the rest and recreation you intend to provide (and they may need).
So, if you are stumped on how to help a family with a disabled member, gift cards are an option and should not be considered impersonal or unwanted. Sometimes they are just the right thing. But make sure the restaurant has take-out, just in case the family really can’t get out of the house.