So many of our neighboring regions have graciously opened up their arms, businesses, and homes to us over the last week due to Hurricane Ida. Without others’ generosity, so many of us New Orleanians would not have survived. It’s because of these neighboring cities, that so many of us were able to evacuate in the first place. As many of us are starting to make our way back home, we cannot forget what our temporary hosts have done for us. I don’t know about you, but a simple thank you will not suffice for suddenly putting up with my crazy crew. Here are a few unique ways to thank your evacuation hosts:
Replacing Household Necessities
It’s one thing when my large family visits for a weekend somewhere, but when staying in someone else’s house for over a week, we go through some household items. What one household might spend on laundry detergent probably isn’t even close to what I spend – and throw in the fact that I only packed enough outfits for a weekend, not a full week. Replacing items like laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, hand soap, paper towels, Clorox wipes, etc. would definitely be much appreciated. Of course it’s easy to Venmo a host for the grocery bill, but actually going out to replace all of these items and then some, is an even greater gesture as the hosts don’t have to actually do it themselves. Maybe even stick a bow on these items, and place them on the counter when you leave to make for a pleasant surprise.
From NOLA with love
If you evacuated for Ida, you were far from home. When hitting up the local H-E-B or Publix, you most likely noticed your typical go-to NOLA treats were not on the shelves. This was a sad reality for me when I couldn’t find Blue Runner white beans in Texas. We are so spoiled. But, how nice would it be to send your host a little NOLA spice as a thank you once you return home? This gesture could also work for those who evacuated to a hotel. Maybe there was a particular front desk attendant or hotel manager that was incredibly helpful given your new temporary home. Putting together a little NOLA package with items such as Jambalaya Girl products, Blue Runner Beans, Zapp’s potato chips, and Abita beer might be a grand and delectable New Orleans thank you to those who don’t get to taste such luxuries as often.
Capturing Memories and Sharing Them
Some of you may have found yourselves asking to stay with family or friends whom you don’t get to see regularly, given that they live out of town – a small bright side of evacuation. With so many kids, and so much new-found time on our hands, we tried our best to keep them occupied and do fun things with them. I captured so many pictures of the kids and our out-of-state relatives. Creating a small photo album of all of the pictures taken during the week-long stay would make for a memorable thank you gift to the host family.
I’m not going to lie, my crew completely took over my aunt and uncle’s house during our evacuation. The kids were amped and excited for this impromptu “vacation.” Their toys, clothes, and noise were all over the house. I found myself constantly apologizing for their mess as they ran around and made themselves right at home. It was especially nerve-racking as our host family does not have young kids, so this mess was not something they were used to. Getting a gift card to a local cleaning service would be MUCH appreciated after a week-long visit from hyper toddlers.
Kids like to draw their thanks
Getting kids involved in the thanks is a great idea. Not only does it make the thanks personal, but it shows the kids how important it is to show appreciation. Have them draw thank you cards for the hosts or helpful neighbors or friendly hotel staff they encountered throughout the week. Mailing in a thank you picture from young kids could bring a warm smile to any hotel staff meeting I would think.
Partner Up with Alexa
This idea really only works if the host family has an Amazon device used regularly. Our host family had an Echo in their kitchen that they seemed to use often. The night before we left, we secretly left random reminders for our hosts dating the following week. Some of them sounded like, “Alexa, remind me on Wednesday, that Piper misses her Aunt Susan,” or “Alexa, remind me on Thursday that Conner can’t wait to visit the Texas house again!” This way, my aunt would get random feel-good thoughts sporadically throughout her week.
No matter where you stayed or how you evacuated, it’s always nice to take the time to thank anyone who helped along the way. Sure, a thank you card and some flowers are nice, but taking the time to make it personal or going that extra mile will go a long way in making someone feel truly appreciated.