DEAR HARRIETTE: At church last Sunday, I was handed an envelope from one of the church elders. When I got home, I saw that there was a check enclosed and a note saying that if I needed anything, I should reach out to her. My church knows that I have been struggling recently. I lost my job, and my landlord is threatening to evict me. I am so grateful for their support. I do need help, but I am embarrassed to tell anybody how bad it is. How can I respond to this nice woman? -- Desperately in Need, Chicago
DEAR DESPERATELY IN NEED: Your church member's note was her way of reaching out to you directly to invite you to share your story. While your church may not be able to solve your problems, your spiritual home should be a safe place for you to talk about your situation and potentially find some kind of support. Follow up with her and request a confidential meeting. At that meeting, explain everything that is going on and what you need in order to survive. Ask if the church has resources or referrals that may help you. It may be hard to do, but this should be your place of refuge. Let it be just that.