10 More Ways To Share Your Abundance With Our Homeless Friends

10 additional ways you can make an impact on the lives of those without a home.

Image by truthseeker08 from Pixabay

Earlier this month, I did a post on 10 ways to help our homeless friends, drawing on information I was given while researching a pamphlet for a local church. The post was well-received, and once published I realized I had left out some really good ideas.

So I’m back with another ten. These will give you ideas on how to address needs that might otherwise go uncared for.

Hats

It’s not true that the majority of the body’s heat escapes through the head, all other things being equal. However, if the rest of the body is clothed and the head is left bare, then it makes sense that is where the heat will escape. A knit cap is a necessity on cold streets in the winter.

Socks

Wet socks are an often overlooked danger to the homeless. They can lead to sores, blisters, rashes, athlete’s foot, trench foot, and frostbite. A fresh pair — and maybe an extra pair to stuff in their pockets or bags— are much appreciated.

Travel-sized toiletries in sealable plastic bags

Plastic zippable bags filled with travel sizes of the following are a great way to help with hygiene:

  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Lip balm
  • Sun block
  • Shampoo
  • Combs
  • Feminine hygiene products

Important: Make sure that all bags contain exactly the same items when handing these out. My friends learned the hard way that if the items in each bag vary, fights can break out over the most highly desired ones.

Volunteer with your entire family to feed the homeless

Volunteering with your entire family is a way to introduce your children to the joy of serving others. Many shelters will offer nights where family groups can volunteer together.

As I mentioned in my previous post, try to avoid Thanksgiving, Christmas, Christmas Eve, and Easter, because shelters have no shortage of volunteers on those days.

A great way to pick a day is to use the random. org random number generator. Pick a number between 1 and 12 and that will be your month. Then pick another number between 1 and 31 and that will be your day. If you get one of the holidays mentioned above or a day that doesn’t exist, try again.

Bananas

Many homeless have significant dental problems and cannot handle foods that require a full set of teeth to bite into, such as apples. Bananas, on the other hand, are much softer and easier to eat.

Gift cards to local restaurants and coffee shops

The trouble with giving money to people on the street is that you don’t know what it will be used to purchase. Many homeless have significant drug and alcohol addictions and any money they gather will be put toward those habits. There are even scammers on the street who are not homeless at all, but who pretend to be to bilk strangers.

A small denomination gift card to a nearby restaurant gives you some control over what can be purchased with your donation. You know it will be spent on food and drink. A $10 gift card is good at most fast food restaurants for a sandwich, side and drink combo, or a couple of burgers.

Important: Make sure the restaurant has a location within walking distance of the spot where you hand them the card. It won’t do the recipient much good if they nearest location is six miles away.

Gift cards to local drugstores

As is the case with fast food restaurants, a drugstore gift card gives you a measure of control over how the recipient spends your donation.

It also gives them a measure of control. If an ice-cold soft drink from the cooler sounds best, they can get that. If they are in need of a hygiene product, they can purchase that with the card. It gives them spending power.

One note: In some states, drugstores sell beer and wine. Ask the cashier if alcohol purchases can be made with a gift card. If so, I recommend avoiding this suggestion unless you know the recipient personally and believe they will spend it wisely.

Bus passes

A daily, weekly, or monthly bus pass gives your homeless friend the gift of mobility. It lets them get to another part of town where there might be a job opportunity, a shelter, or a relative with whom they can stay.

Pre-paid passes usually offer an unlimited number of rides for the duration of the pass, typically either one day, 7 days, or 30 days. Note that some bus systems have suspended issuing passes longer than one day during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amazon Smile

Amazon Smile is a program you can voluntarily join that allows you to pick a charity. Thereafter, when you shop, a small portion of each purchase price is donated to the chosen charity. Find out if your local homeless shelter or service center is a registered charity on Smile.

Note that when you shop, you will need to be sure to go to smile.amazon.com rather than www.amazon.com. This can be easy to forget!

Ask, “What do you need?”

One of the best ways to address needs is to simply engage your homeless friends in conversation and find out what would be of most benefit to them. Not only does this address their need, but it can be the beginning of building a one-on-one friendship. Many times, those friendships are what they value most of all.

Check out my previous story…

Thanks for reading. Want to make sure you don’t miss any of my stories and articles? Sign up for my mailing list for weekly updates.

Written by

Beliefs | Intuition | Dreams | Journaling | Connector | Inspirer | Former College Teacher | https://www.buymeacoffee.com/paulryburn Twitter: @paulryburn

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store