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I think there are still families which help extended families - I know my own family has always pitched in for aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.. When I was growing up my unmarried aunt regularily bought my sister and I all of our clothes and shoes so my parents did not have to. She also paid my sister's tuition to a Catholic high school and, throughout all of our adult life, gave us each $100.00 a month whether we needed it or not.
As kids we often helped my father clear the walks and driveways of older neighbors - there was never even a thought as to getting paid for it - it was just what you did. My kids did the same. It's just something you did for poorer or sicker people that you knew. I don't think as many people do things for others now days without expecting to be paid for it.
There are people, however, who try to go that extra mile. I hired a lawn care service for my mother a few years ago when all of the grandchildren had moved away - the guy I hired realized how old my mother was and he often did "extras" without charging me. (Which sort of makes up for the con men who supposedly blacktopped her driveway for only $1,500.00!!!)
But I digress. I think there are many families out there, still, who help support or care for extended family members. I think most of them are relatively (no pun intended) poor themselves, however. They either help pay a late phone bill or slip a few dollars every month for groceries or buy the kids shoes or clothes or pay tuition for a special school or pay for a doctor's appointment or bring dinner over three times a week or babysit for free while Mom goes to work.
Tens of thousands of people would not get by if not for the generousity of family members.
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