Monday, February 9, 2015


I get a lot of questions about what gifts or special needs does a need greater have, so I thought I'd do a post to try to help.  First of all, let me just say we are so blessed to have an organization where we treat each other like family.  I personally have been the recipient of extreme generosity both inside and out of my family so.....THANK YOU!!!

But let's say you're on a tight budget and see a need greater has come home for a bit.  You want to help, but how?  Anything still practical but more subtle than an envelope of cash?  Here's some ideas:

  • Work!  Need greaters are typically home to earn money to keep their dream going.  Is there something you were already going to pay someone to do that you could offer to a need greater instead?  You may think the money's so small, it doesn't matter, but remember, they're returning to a country where a few US dollars goes a long way.  There's now even a website where you can offer that work...
  • Lodging.  Sometimes need greaters end up in an area where there's no family because they have more earning potential there.  Could you offer your extra bedroom or a few meals to help with their daily expenses while they're in the States?  It's temporary and a HUGE financial help.  Many come back for Regional you have room in your vehicle or hotel room for them?

Family and friends with whom I know I ALWAYS have a place with when I go home :)
  • Transportation.  Most need greaters sold their vehicles already and used the money in their assignment.  As you know, unless you're in a huge metro area in the U.S. where public transportation is available, you NEED a vehicle.  Do you have an extra one that could be loaned on a short term basis?  Check with your insurance, but typically, as long as you've given them permission to drive, they are covered under your policy for any accidents that may occur.
  • Direct Order.  Lately I've seen a lot of need greaters bring products back from their assignment and sell them in the States for a little profit.  They then use that money towards the saving they bring back to serve.  For instance, from Nicaragua I've seen exotic jewelry made from coconuts or tortoise shell, organic coffee, leather goods, publication covers, etc.  Could you communicate with a need greater before they come and put in an order?  You'll often spend much less than buying the same item in the States and the product can often be custom made.  Remember, the more the need greater buys, the better discount they receive.
  • Buy Skype credit for them.  Some have given me gift cards when I go home, but it's often not very practical because I have only a month to use it!  However, Skype is soooo important to us!  It's often how we work and keep in contact with home.  Could you put $5-10 on their account for an emergency call home?
  • Need greaters are often in very primitive conditions and on a tight budget.  Luxury goods don't exist for us either because we have no access or can't afford it.  A small gesture can often mean soooo much for us.  For example, a fancy coffee or cocktail out, a nail polish, a very American dessert, a museum visit, etc.  It doesn't cost much and represents everything we can no longer do.
Some NY friends treated by roommate and I to some fine chocolate during my last trip home.  It was heaven!  And greatly appreciated :)
  • Finally...good association!  Have us over!  Let us show some pictures or tell experiences! Better yet, let us know what's new with you!  We cherish our friends back home and time together is so precious, so take advantage!

Just a few shots of the amazing hospitality I receive every time I go home...these form some of my fondest memories!

If any other need greaters want to chime in, please do so!  Everyone's circumstances are different so you may have identified a need I overlooked.   Thanks again!


  1. Loved this post! Taking tract holders this time!!! The friends in the Spanish congregation back home fight over them, so it's a great way to make a little money. I bought my tablet that way last year, and still had money left from my profits!!

    1. I've brought those as gifts but never tried to sell them. Hmmm, maybe this time. Especially since I'm seeing ticket prices for more than double what they were last year :(

  2. Selling things on your trip up isn't a bad idea.. There's a sister here on Corn who funds her trips to the assemblies (and everything else) by selling painted shells and other things. I think they are so cute and so when I go back I'm going to try to order a bunch to help support her and give the sisters and brothers the opportunity to help in the states.

    But honestly, I've never been asked that - how to help a needgreater. Neither have I ever received help outside of my own family... wait, I take that back. I have friends that have offered me a place to stay if I ever come up their way. But really, besides that I haven't received any special gifts or acknowledgements other than the nice things my family does when I come home. Interesting..

    1. Maybe in a really unsubtle way you could refer your friends to this blog post? hehehe