Many of us could be steps away from homelessness. The loss of a job, sudden illness, or family death could be the route to total despair. People on the streets and in shelters across America have lost their homes and been deserted by family and friends. Here are 5 super easy ways to make a difference that you can incorporate into everyday:
- Develop lists of shelters. Figure out where your local shelters are and what services they offer, you can find shelters through the Homeless Shelters Directory. Print them on some cards or papers and hand them out to homeless people that want that information.
- Carry extras. Keep stuff in your car or a few items in your bag and hand them out to people that need them.
- Things like hats, gloves, socks, heat packs and blankets can go a long way in the winter. (Knit some stuff for fun instead of buying it!)
- Feminine hygiene products are SUPER important, and can be difficult for homeless women and girls to get a hold of.
- Walgreens or Starbucks gift cards, so they can decide what they need.
- Keep some food items with you, try to be aware of common food allergies when you decide what to carry. When you pass someone who asks for change, offer them something to eat.
- Give them money. You never know a someone’s life situation just because they are on the street. Something you can give to anyone that is useful, lightweight, and portable is MONEY. That money can be used by a number of things. For more information on why money is important check out Lily A Rayne’s response to blessing bags which features a great response from a homeless person about what they really need.
- Volunteer. There are so many ways you can volunteer, pick what feels best to you: Shelters, follow-up programs and soup kitchens, can almost always take more help. Find out where you can provide your professional services or your hobbies (no matter what you are good at, you can find ways help the homeless with your talents and skills).
- Donate to nonprofits. One of the most direct ways to aid the homeless is to give money. Donations to nonprofit organizations that serve the homeless go a long way.
No matter what, don’t judge people you see on the street, you don’t know why they are there. A little compassion and kindness goes a long way…especially in winter. Go help someone today!