Things are tough all over, so the saying goes. It's unlikely anyone now lives in a bubble where they are not directly affected by, or have had friends and family fall prey to job loss and reductions, retirement and investment fund losses, housing difficulties, or health care crisis' made worse by and insane system of mismanaged care.
Of course, it's all perspective; those with *a* job, some healthcare, a home they can afford, little things like that, might feel worlds better off than others they know and/or love. Ditto people in the fields which benefit from economic downturns.
If you are in that category and have wondered how you might be able to help a friend of acquaintance without making them feel uncomfortable by an outright gift, there is actually a charitable organization that will act as a middle-agent for you.
It's even called Giving Anonymously. Its not free, but it is an option.
Of course, you can always just have a bank check, gift check, or gift card created somewhere and mail it to your friend, as well. When we used to answer Santa letters from the Post Office, we'd try to include something for the parent(s) in the package, usually a gift card from a local drugstore or supermarket, or a long distance calling card.