During the winter, our thoughts often turn to how we can serve others. This includes the men, women, and children who are homeless in our own community.
Homelessness is a huge problem in the United States, with more than 500,000 people living in a state of homelessness. The reasons behind homelessness are numerous, including mental health issues, a financial crisis, abuse, neglect, substance abuse, and more.
However, you can help homeless people in a variety of ways, such as making donations, offering aid, or volunteering. Below are just a few ways you could make a difference in the community and someone’s life this year.
1) Donate Basic Items
Shelters and organizations (like us) always welcome donations of cash, groceries, and clothes, but there are ways to customize what you give. First, ask the shelter what they need most. Second, consider the time of year, and donate summer clothes in the warmer months, or winter clothes when it’s cold. Think about donating toiletries or personal products, including bras, underwear, and socks.
2) Cook & Serve A Meal
At places like Rogue Retreat’s Kelly Shelter, you can volunteer to cook a meal for homeless guests. Taking the time to help prepare and serve a meal means so much to someone who is staying at the shelter. When you reach out with compassion and a servant’s heart, you not only provide a meal but a feeling of hope during a difficult time.
3) Donate Professional Skills
Everyone has talents and skills they could donate to help people experiencing homelessness. Direct service providers may be able to use their unique skills to help shelters or individuals. This includes plumbing, accounting, carpentry, fundraising, legal, medical, dentistry, child care, counseling, tutoring, or mentoring. The options are endless! Find our more about our volunteer oppertunities.
4) Job Opportunities
Encourage your company, school, or place of worship to hire people experiencing homelessness. Most unemployed homeless adults desperately want to work, but need an employer to give them a chance. That hand-up could be exactly what someone needs to help them rebuild their life.
5) A Simple Smile
Making eye contact, saying a few kind words, or smiling can reaffirm the humanity of a person at a time when homelessness seems to have stripped it away. This small gesture takes but a moment, but has a lasting positive impact.
Serving Others & Changing Lives
However you choose to help homeless people in our community, your time, compassion, and service will be appreciated more than you may ever know. Because a kind word or gesture which comes from a place of service and love for one another has the power to change someone’s life for the better.