I was at an event last week where one of the sponsors had set up a sort of swag shop for attendees. They didn’t want to be wasteful and put all of their products in a bag, so they invited people to put what they wanted or needed in a bag. I was hovering over some lotion when the woman next to me nudged me. “This is saving my summer.” I laughed and nodded, because heck yes, freebies ROCK. She elaborated as she picked up a large bottle of sunscreen, “I can’t get this with my food stamps.”
oh. right. Oh my goodness. She is SO right.
None of the items in front of us would be available for purchase with an EBT card: shampoo, lotion, antiseptic goop, band aids, and not sunscreen. While it has now been a while since my family depended on state benefits for help with groceries I immediately remembered the panic of wondering where such necessities would come from.
Being a part of the blog community made me lucky. I used the small amount of ad money I made from the sidebar ads to supplement the extra items on our grocery list like over the counter pain medication or diaper cream. I also benefitted a lot from the samples from local events and conferences that I was able to go to. I even made my own hair cleaner out of grocery items.
Not everyone has access to samples or freebies. The average playground mom may have moved mountains just to carve out thirty minutes of free time to enjoy with her kids at the park. Maybe she can afford sunscreen, maybe she can’t. Maybe she forgot the sunscreen in the frenzy of the morning, or maybe it never occurred to her that it would be necessary. You can help this mom and her kids. You can help out a lot of people.
5 Easy Ways to be Compassionate With Sunscreen
1. ALWAYS have sunscreen with you and always apply it to yourself and your kid. Sunburns are not cute at all. Nope. Not even a little bit.
2. If you see a mom (or dad) frantically searching in their bag go ahead and be sunscreen presumptuous. “Hey, I’ve got TONS of sunscreen with me if that is what you are looking for.” (bonus points if you already have it in your hand when you say this.
3. If you are in the process of putting on sunscreen on your kids and there is a family nearby go ahead and just hand the bottle over to the parent, “Did you want any of this before I put it away?”
4. Bring a large bottle of sunscreen to your kid’s class. My little guy goes to the playground sometimes twice a day during school hours and while I cover him with sunscreen in the morning I wouldn’t mind if he got an extra dab from his teachers in the afternoon. He has his own sunscreen that he keeps in his backpack, but not all kids do. Find out if there is a safe brand of sunscreen to bring in for the entire class to use.
5. If there is a sale on high quality sunscreen and you can swing it, buy a couple of bottles and donate them to your food bank, church, or community center. Sunscreen is not something covered on food stamps and many families just don’t spend money on it if times are tough.
One thing you should never ever do: don’t ever apply sunscreen to another child unless you have been given permission by that child’s parent or guardian. Besides the obvious rule of just NO – do not touch, please know some children suffer from allergies to specific sunscreens. So even if you know the child and their family, do not apply sunscreen without permission.
Looking for more ways to be compassionate out in the world? Read 8 Simple Ways to be Compassionate.