In this day and age, there are more people than ever in need. There have always been people in need but what is so different about the current situation is that many of these people are neighbors, friends, and family members. I can’t remember a time when I have known so many people who are laid off, unemployed, or underemployed. And the numbers are increasing. New York’s unemployment rate just made a record jump from 6.9% to 8.1%. We’re now past the national average and it’s starting to show. Even my neighborhood coffee shop had to lay off some employees! While some people have been careful with their savings and are better able to cope with joblessness or having one pay check where there used to be two, a great many others have been living paycheck to paycheck or are simply unprepared for a protracted period of unemployment. I’m not even sure Suze Orman’s suggested 8 month emergency fund is going to be enough for many Americans who may be out of work for quite sometime due to the percarious job market. Even people who have been diligently saving maybe in financial peril because their accounts were market based and have been greatly depleated over the past six months. The bottom line is, there are a great many people out there who are in need of financial aid and, if they are lucky, they have friends and family who are inclined to help and in a position to help. But how do you politely lend or give money to a friend or family member in need without ruining your relationship? This article provides some inspired ideas-everything from annoynmous giving to paying it forward. Certainly an article to read or at least bookmark for later…you never know what the future holds.