7 Ways to Help the Homeless Community
Did you know that there is an estimated 20,000 homeless and hungry individuals in the Bay Area today? Though you may not see them on an everyday basis, homeless individuals and families are struggling right in your neighborhood to feed themselves and stay safe and warm. It’s easy to ignore the problem, especially when you are focused on taking care of your own family. However, with just a little extra effort, you can have a big impact on the homeless community. Here are seven ways to help.
A small donation can go a long way at a homeless shelter. Many shelters provide three meals a day, 365 days a year, for homeless or hungry people, which can add up to a lot of money. By donating just $5-$10, you can cover the cost of some of those meals for a family. The shelter may also use the donation to buy needed supplies, pay staff members, or advocate for the homeless.
Donate New and Used Items
Shelters need more than money. If you have any new items such as soap, toilet paper, kitchen supplies, or other necessary items, most shelters are always grateful to take them. Donating used clothing is also a good way to help as many homeless individuals do not have the necessary clothes to keep themselves warm and safe.
Many homeless shelters rely on volunteers to serve meals, organize and work at collection drives, mentor youth, or contribute specialized skills. Whether you can only volunteer once or you can fit it into your weekly schedule, volunteering is the perfect way to get involved and learn more about homelessness while assisting those in need.
Talk to a Homeless Individual
How many times you have you seen a homeless person on the street and chosen to turn away? The homeless are lonely and hurting and a simple smile or conversation can sometimes be all it takes to turn their day around. The next time you see a homeless individual, approach them with a smile and start a conversation. You might be surprised to find how much it brightens both of your days.
Advocate for a Local Organization
Your voice can carry a lot of weight if used to advocate for a local homeless shelter. Consider starting a social media campaign to raise funds, writing a blog on the homeless problem in the Bay Area, or talking to local politicians about ways to improve the lives of the homeless.
Create Blessing Bags
It’s difficult to know how to help a homeless person you encounter on the street. Prepare yourself by creating ‘blessing bags’ that contain snacks, personal hygiene items, socks, money, or other necessities. Carry them in your car or your purse and hand them out when you see someone in need.
Hire Homeless Individuals
Many homeless individuals would rather work for what they get rather than receive a handout. Consider hiring one to mow your lawn, clean up leaves, or do tasks at your business if you have one. When you pay them for the work they do, you not only help provide for them, but you also raise their self-esteem.
Homelessness in the Bay Area is everyone’s problem and all of us should pitch in and help. If you’d like to learn more about our homeless shelter or would like to get involved, please visit our website.