Whenever people think of the homeless most show pity, including myself. Others don’t have any compassion and believe that these individuals are homeless by choice, due to the poor decision that they made throughout their lives. I believe that this is a false misconception of the homeless, people tend to windup in these types of situation as a result of some or a combination of traumatic and misfortune events that they were unable to control. For example, some studies have shown that most homeless women are homeless because many have been in a domestic violence situations. disregarding the fact that they have limited to no resources, escaping their current reality was their only option. Others are homeless due to possible mental illnesses and their financial instability. Also, because of the homelessness rate in the United States most shelters are over capacity and according to the 2014 P.I.T. report an estimated 42 percent of homeless individuals (or 153,015) were staying in unsheltered locations such as under bridges, in cars, or in abandoned buildings.
Below are some steps I believe that could help find the humanity within yourself. Making small efforts, weather through prosperous or lean time in your life. Can create the sort of change that can impact an individuals’ life, even if only for a brief moment.
1 # keep a supply kit in your car; this can be consisted of some basic essential items.
- Clothing, blankets, and shoes
- Power bars
- Canned foods/ peanut butter
- Pet foods
- Personal hygiene products
These items can be handed out to individuals instead of cash. Many might not feel comfortable giving or receiving cash from the homeless because of their inability to deal with personal hygiene on a daily basis . So another substitute for cash would be gift cards. Gift cards can be easily sanitized and for some people who have concerns about the miss use of given funds, this makes it a bit more difficult to do so.
Whatever you are planning to donate, keep in mind it should be something that can have a practical daily use. Offering things like gently used sleeping bags, backpack, and even old camping gear can provide someone living on the street with some level of comfort. Providing toiletries, personal hygiene and personal care products, can also give an individual back something that we all take for granted each day (our humanity) nationalhomeless.org
Another item that might be surprising to donate is laundry detergents, providing someone with the ability to wash and care for their own personal effect can mean a lot to them, especially to a person who has very little in this world. As it pertains to giving actual funds I typically find it more comfortable for me, to give to a local organization. i.e. church, local food bank, clothing drives and even shelters. They are easily found by doing a simple local Internet search such as Food-pantries they are always accepting donations.
Volunteering can consist of you or a group of your peers going down to the local soup kitchen or food bank. It can also consist of contacting local agencies and obtaining some useful info, such as the locations of social recourses i.e. shelters, which can aid you in your pursuit of humanity. Instead of providing someone with aide on a daily basis, you can show them how to and where to obtain these resources. The Homeless need more than just a hot plate, they need a friendly face, smile and the social support of their community to help them get back on their feet. The homeless are not second-class citizens and sometimes the privilege tends to forget that fact.
Here are a few blogs and sites that I found pretty interesting and that also shed some much-needed light on this subject.
- The Homeless Guy
I hope that this blog provided some insight on the issue of homelessness and also gave you (the reader) a point of reference in which to start from, on your journey to finding humanity. I will be posting more blogs about this subject in the near future and I will also be setting up a direct link for anyone who would like to make a charitable donation. All of the proceeds will go to a non-for profit organization that assist the homeless. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions, concerns, suggestions or ideas that you may have.
Here is something to think about before you leave!
I was hungry, and you formed a humanities club.
I was imprisoned, and you crept off quietly to pray for my release.
I was naked, and in your mind, you debated the morality of my appearance.
What good did that do?
I was sick, and you knelt and thanked God for your health,
But I needed you.
I was homeless, and you preached to me of the shelter of the love of God.
I wish you had taken me home.
I was lonely, and you left me alone to pray for me.
Why didn’t you stay?
You seem so holy, so close to God,
But I’m still very hungry, lonely and cold and I’m still in pain.
Does it matter?