Random Acts of Kindness for the Homeless
Hooded and Homeless A Photo Poem for the Homeless
Random Acts of Kindness for the Homeless
Winter is here and life becomes ever more difficult for anyone living on the streets. We don't need to know why they are homeless, just that they are and that they need all the help they can get. There are endless numbers of ways you can help and these are just a few suggestions.
Plastic Sleep Mat
They still need your help
Christmas may be over but the worst of the winter is still to come and there are people out there who need your help. I've just found this great idea - how to crochet a waterproof mat for the homeless - follow the link to see how -Craft for Humanity: Crochet a Plastic Sleeping Mat for the Homeless
Spare a coin or two
I took this photo in Edinburgh - a homeless man begging on the street. It struck me how we so often just walk by. He told me, they sit down so they don't look so threatening and I wrote the little poem to go with his picture.
You probably won't miss a few coins now and then and it might make the difference between eating and not eating for someone.
Homeless man in Edinburgh
Suspended Coffee Schemes
In the UK we have a Suspended Coffee scheme - The idea is that when you buy a coffee in participating cafes you can pay for another which will be given to a homeless person.
Find a cafe in your area that participates, if there isn't one, how about approaching the cafe owner and telling them about the scheme.
Buy a homeless person a hot drink or a meal
If you are not comfortable giving money, then buy a homeless person a hot drink or a meal. Some cafes will allow you to pay ahead for a homeless person. Some cafes and resteraunts will let you buy food vouchers or tokens you can hand out.
Or just buy a hot drink, a pizza or pie, sandwich or so on and hand it over. Hot chocolate is always a good idea since most people like it and it will warm them up and give them a sugar boost.
Hats for the Homeless
Hats for the Homeless
I've come across several charities running Hats for the Homeless both in the UK and the US. Hats 4 the Homeless in NJ and The Woman's Weekly in the UK are just two. You can search for one in your area. Many churches run schemes and the Red Cross and the Samaritans are usually grateful to receive them.
You can buy a hat to donate or you can make one yourself - this is a great idea for anyone who knits or crochets. Personally I am always knitting so this is one way I can pass on what I create. Some of the charities have free patterns you can download but there are oodles available to download for free on the internet. I have a whole load of free patterns for hats and beannies on my pinterest board or you can search online.
Of course you can hand out hats to any homeless person you see. I bought some fleece hats with earflaps from Aldis - they were selling for only £3 each - and I keep them in the car to either hand out or to hang in places where the homeless go, in parks, on benches, from trees in subways. I got the idea online from crafter.org and I think it is a good one. Not everyone feels comfortable approaching homeless people although the majority will do you no harm, so this is a good idea.
Hygiene packages for the homeless
Something you might not think about - how to you keep clean, clean your teeth and so on if you are homeless? Is there anything worse than having a 'furry' mouth all day, every day?
Make up hygiene packs with toothbrush and toothpaste and a bottle of water. You can add in soap, a sponge and towel too.
Keep a few in your car to hand out as you see people in need. Or give these items to a homeless shelter or charity.
Shoebox for the Homeless
Create a shoebox for the Homeless
Get an empty shoebox from a shoe store and fill it with care goods. I added the hygiene pack I mentioned above with the addition of a warm hat and gloves, thermal socks and some treats.
I keep a couple of these in my car to hand out but if you prefer, there are a number of charities that will accept your donation. Check your local churches, the Salvation Army, local homeless shelters and so on. A homeless shelter told me the thing they need most are socks!
Many homeless people would just be grateful if you spent time with them. Have a little conversation, listen to their story. Not every gift involves money, your time and attention can be use as valuable.
Shelter - Nightstop for homeless people
Money is tight for all of us but you have one thing that is priceless - your time. If you cannot afford to buy gifts, food and clothing, then volunteer your time with one of the many homeless charities around. You can work in a soup kitchen, in a homeless shelter, join a charity that helps on the streets by handing out food and clothing.
In Bradford we have Bradford Nightstop - through volunteers they provide emergency overnight accommodation. I believe there are others around the country. Shelter our leading charity for the homeless and vulnerable can direct you to even more.
In the UK you can find a list of homeless charities on the Homeless Link.
in the US try Great Non Profit Homeless Charities or search on line
Shelter Christmas Appeal
Donate for the Homeless
Charities who support the homeless are always grateful for money. It can be as little or as much as you can spare because every penny helps when collected together. The thing about money gifts is that the charity can direct the funds to where it is most needed.
Our leading charities for the homeless in the UK are Shelter, The Red Cross and the Samaritans but there are many others. Crisis is a charity for single homeless people for example and they have some great suggestion on how you can help on their website.
Check out the web for your region and get involved.
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