Daily Post Topic #128: Should you help homeless people? Why or why not?
I’m so glad that WordPress and PostADay put out this topic because it is something that has been close to my heart for awhile now. I am a Christian and believe that we are all called to help care for the widows, orphans and those that are less fortunate. I am also a person that tries to think outside of the box sometimes and look for some practical solutions for issues. I see homeless people every where I go, and all too often, I never have any cash on me. But even when I did have cash, I would find it hard to just give the person cash, because you never know what they will use it for, assuming it will be for cigarettes or booze or drugs.
About a year and a half ago, my women’s Bible study group decided to come up with a more practical way to help out homeless people that we often see at freeway off-ramps and stop signs. We got large ziplock bags and filled each one with the following: a bottle of water, a granola bar, fruit snacks, candies, cough drops, band-aides, a pair of socks, gloves, travel toothbrush and toothpaste, a bar of soap, travel sized shampoo, tissues, a gift card for McDonald’s, and a piece of paper with information to local food banks and homeless shelters. If we had time and the ability to pull over, we would try to have a conversation with the person about their life and if possible, try to share about Jesus with them. Then each week that we met, we would share our stories of each encounter.
Around December of last year, my friend Jeff and I really wanted to do more with the homeless outreach in our area. Our plan was to continue making these “kits” and going to walk around areas we knew were more prominent with homeless people. We also talked about making larger kits that would include the above items as well as a blanket and blow up pillow (you could get from an Army/Navy supply store), poncho, hat, deodorant, and first aid kit. We talked about getting donations from various businesses for some of the items to help with costs, and then trying to sell the small and large kits to members of the church, so that people could purchase them to have ready in their cars. Sadly, we never got around to doing this, and Jeff has moved to another church. I still keep my small kits handy, but haven’t handed any out in awhile.
I used to also volunteer for about a year at my church’s monthly homeless outreach. It was one Saturday per month. We would go and set up for a clothing give away and the homeless could come and get clothes that they needed. Afterwards we would serve them a hot meal and sit and talk to them for a bit. There was even a couple of ladies that would volunteer to shampoo and cut their hair.
I hope that maybe some of these ideas have or will encourage you to think outside of the box with ways you can help homeless people where you live. Or, if you already do something to help the homeless, I would love to know what it is and hope you will leave a comment about it!
There is a lot that happens around the world we cannot control. We cannot stop earthquakes, we cannot prevent droughts, and we cannot prevent all conflict, but when we know where the hungry, the homeless and the sick exist, then we can help.
Seven out of 10 Americans are one paycheck away from being homeless.