She came close to my window, sadly staring at me, saying ‘ No, I do not want money, I want you to buy me a doll, I’ll be sitting here all night long, and my name is rehab ‘, and she walked away.

Can you imagine? I was astonished, I was about to cry. She did not take the money, she just asked for something all kids want and deserve: a toy. For a moment, I felt bad about myself for assuming that I know what she needs, I felt bad for believing that giving her money without even a kind word is enough for her, I thought I was doing the right thing, before hearing her own words.

Others in need, yes that’s right, but have we ever wondered what kind of needs? Are they always financial ones? After this incident, I don’t think so.

Here’s a list of a couple of basic needs, and other nonmaterialistic, yet meaningful ones too!

1- Food.

It can be a freshly cooked meal. You can share your own meal with others in need. There is nothing that teaches a person empathy than breaking bread with their fellow man. It’s a simple act, but it can be hard to remember sometimes that we all need to eat. Food is a form of expression, and a meal can express compassion and kindness it’s not just a cure for your hunger pangs.

2- An experience.

Sometimes we try to experience stuff we were never exposed to, travel to places we’ve never been to, just for the sake of gaining knowledge and feeling differently. Perhaps they just want to experience a day just like any other kid, playing with toys, going to a park, or even attending an art class or a sports training session.  An experience is priceless and it creates a lasting memory. May you never underestimate the power of experiences.

3- A kind word.

Have you ever experienced a really bad day, where you were totally pissed, and someone suddenly appeared with a random act of kindness and it changed your whole day? It literally costs nothing, but it means everything. It could be anything; a single word, a joke, a prayer, or even a compliment with a smile, and the best part is, it will not only brighten up their whole day, it will brighten up yours too when you see someone is feeling better because of something you said

4- A conversation.

We all have the need for conversation, we all need to talk to someone. This act of empathy will definitely lead to a better understanding and build a connection between you and that person. Rather than increase the gap between those that are fortunate and those that are not we should be working to bridge it. You can make wonders by just a little bit of your time, don’t you agree?

5- A blanket/ scarf for winter, a fan for summer.

How do you feel when someone offers you their jacket when you’re shivering in the cold? Let me guess, you feel saved? What about when the weather is too hot to the extent that you cannot even function, and suddenly you enter a place that has AC? You feel like you don’t want to leave that place, don’t you?. Blankets and fans are mobile and very practical when it comes to weather changes, literally. Let’s be others saviors!

6- Unused Cables/ wires.

Yes, like you heard. Someone may fix your old charger and use it instead of saving up a fortune to buy a new one. Another one may use an old wire to lighten up a broken lamp. I know someone who used to collect old wires from the street. He would use the cables to make Ramadan decorations for his kids, well, I was pretty impressed too!

7- Information.

How many times did you check the weather or asked a friend about it before going out? How many times do you use google per day? How many information do you get by sitting with your friends who have different cultures and experiences? How much have you evolved by gaining knowledge and reading tips about everything you’re interested in?

What if someone does not have the same resources you have, but is still seeking knowledge as well do? Let’s just play a role in that, let’s share a weather tip, a planting tip, a medical tip if we can, or any kind of information that may take a second of our time but can be life changing to others.

8- Your discount cards/ vouchers from clothes shops or grocery stores.

Sometimes I ask my friends if they ever use the discount cards they get or even the discount messages on their phones. Guess what, only one of ten used them. Here’s a new method you can use those cards. You can buy them what they need with them or give them the control to go and buy it themselves. After all, we all get vouchers. Rather than have them tucked away in our drawer let’s make the most out of them.