When I was shoveling snow recently, my neighbor made the stereotypical "how much to do mine?" joke. After chatting for a few minutes, it became very clear that she could not afford a shovel and was embarrassed by that. I came back after she went inside and shoveled for her, but she heard me and both her and her husband came out to try to pay me, which I refused as politely as I could.
I know they have had a very hard year financially (lost one of two jobs due to the pandemic), while we have been very lucky. I would like to buy them a snow shovel and perhaps a holiday gift for their child. However, I'm not sure how to do that without 1) making them feel bad for not reciprocating, or worse, actually spending money on a return gift and 2) making them feel like we think we are better than them.
The best option I have been able to come up with reading advice elsewhere is to leave the gifts anonymously. I have no problem doing that, but want to hear if anyone has any better advice to enable them to accept the gifts without saddling them with emotional burden.