How to Support the Single Parent

Rabbi Doniel Drandoff, MFT, a therapist in private practice in the Five Towns & Mrs Sarah Rivkah Kohn, Founder & Director of Links Family recently hosted an lnstalive on how friends & family can support the single parent.

We asked our audience to send us what they had done that had been appreciated & we also asked single mothers & fathers for some ideas because so many of you asked “How can I help?”

But before the list, here are some pointers:

Give sensitively. No expectations. No telling others about your giving. No looking down. Don’t say always or all the time. Set realistic expectations of what you can fulfill and stick to it. (E.g.,We would love to have you every Shabbos Mevorchim)

It’s not just about what you do but who you are. Be a supportive presence.


  • Putting money on a grocery account to pay up debt or fill it. Do let the person know so they can spend it!
  • Giving a set amount towards Yorn Tov
  • Asking a Rov or Org to deliver funds on your behalf sometimes mitigates uncomfortable feelings
  • Pay a month’s rent
  • Gift cards to a store of their choice
  • Pay for cleaning help for a set period


  • Offer to pick up stuff weekly at Costco/Grocery etc
  • If single parent has children of the opposite gender, see if you can help take them clothing shopping. (Single fathers are often out of place in women & girls fashion stores)
  • If your friend enjoys shopping, offer to go together to make it more fun.
  • If a single parent is making Yorn Tov for the first time or a wedding or Bar Mitzvah, sharing your menus and shopping lists can be a big help

Yom Tov Related:

  • Go out with the child and buy Daled Minim
  • Prepare break the fast foods
  • Send over food for Erev YT- if they’re eating out for the meals they might not have Erev YT food.
  • Invite to Chanukah parties 
  • Invite to Purim parties
  • Offer private Megillah readings
  • Host for Sedarim …& get them Afikomen as you would for your own kids
  • Buy flowers for Shavuos


  • At the outset some single parents can use help with cooking. See if you can send dinner once a week or if you can be the one to order Thursday night pizza dinner for a month.
  • Many single parents, particularly single fathers may find cooking for Shabbos overwhelming. See if there is a Kugel or cake or soup any other food that you can send over weekly.
  • If a single parent is sick with a cold, strep, the flu or whatnot, they don’t get a reprieve. Offer meals. Or a hot soup just for them. Or lunch if they’re in bed .

Pick me up:

  • Birthdays, Yorn Tov and other special family times can be downers for some of our families, buying a small gift or spa gift card or restaurant gift card can go a long way!
  • Take your single parent friend out for lunch or dinner with friends. So often it seems the world is all about couples. Going on your own with other friends can help with feelings of social isolation.
  • Buy a magazine subscription if you know the person likes to read. Each time it comes, it’s a reminder someone cares
  • Write cards. Write emails. Call just to say hi and check in. Ask for funny stories about the kids … a single parent often wonders who to share this with .


  • Shabbosim
  • Summer BBQ
  • Yom Tov
  • Chanukah Party

…see where you can include the single parent and family.

And if this is a divorce, invite the single parent on weeks where their children are not with them so they don’t have to be alone.

And accept the no if the invitation doesn’t work for them.

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