We cringe as we hear of the latest mass tragedy whether it's another shooting, a hurricane, tornado, fire, or flood. It's just one more horrific event that fills our daily thoughts and hearts. Yet, we never believe that something so awful could ever happen to us or to anyone close to us.

Fortunately, our communities are very thoughtful and giving toward the victims whose names and faces are splashed across the news. While most of us will never know someone who has lived through such a public tragedy, we all have people in our lives who are living with an illness, an injury, or a loss of some sort. Here are seven simple ways we can help those who are trying to cope when crisis strikes.

# 1: Show that you care by volunteering your talents. Don't ask, "What can I do to help?" Just jump in with a suggestion. If you have a knack for cutting hair or doing manicures, ask which they would prefer and set up a time. If you know how to do basic car maintenance like checking the oil, putting air in the tires, or filling the tank with gas, offer to help.

#2: Tell the person that you have been thinking about them. If you can't tell them face-to-face, pick up the phone, send an email, or write a note. Just knowing that someone cares enough to check in can mean the world.

#3: Mention a lost loved one's name in conversation. Show that the person is not forgotten. Share stories and talk about fond memories.

#4: Provide a welcomed break. We all need a chance to get away during tough times. Share an evening together... at the movies, at a game, or just out for dinner.

#5: Check in over the long haul. Getting through a loss can take a long, long time. Even if you weren't able to help right after the crisis, your support can never be too late. Fix a meal, deliver a gift card, or just listen over a cup of coffee.

#6: Remember special dates. Holidays, a birthday, or the anniversary of a death can be especially lonely for folks going through hard times. A kind gesture can make all the difference.

#7: Include the kids. Kids also want to help. Maybe they can donate their time and energy by walking the dog, raking leaves, mowing the lawn, or shoveling snow. Older kids can help by running errands to the grocery, pharmacy, or hardware store. Really young ones can make homemade cards or help bake cookies and then deliver them with a smile.

So many folks carry a load of sadness and loss. Take a moment or two out of your day to walk alongside them and make a difference. You just may find that you walk away with more than you give.

Copyright 2013 Allidah Hicks and Bonnie Knuti. All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Allidah Poole Hicks and Bonnie Knuti are the experts in simple, practical, and fun answers to the question, "What can I do to help?" when a crisis strikes. Learn how to make a difference when an illness, accident, or death hits someone you know. Download a free chapter of their award-winning book, When Crisis Strikes... What To Do, What To Say, How to Help: http://www.whencrisisstrikes.com