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Random Acts of Kindness for the Homeless

Updated on August 25, 2016

Hooded and Homeless A Photo Poem for the Homeless

Hooded and Homeless
Hooded and Homeless | Source

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

how to make a plastic sleep mat for the homeless
how to make a plastic sleep mat for the homeless | Source

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

Not Quite Seen
Not Quite Seen

Suspended Coffees

buy a hot drink for a homeless person when you buy your own
buy a hot drink for a homeless person when you buy your own | Source

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

hand a hat with a note, take this for free on it, anywhere you expect homeless people to be.
hand a hat with a note, take this for free on it, anywhere you expect homeless people to be. | Source

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 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

what to add in a care box
what to add in a care box | Source

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

75,000 children will be homeless in Britain this Christmas - Click the link to give a donation to Shelter
75,000 children will be homeless in Britain this Christmas - Click the link to give a donation to Shelter | Source

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.

What do you do to help the homeless?

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    • annmackiemiller profile image

      annmackiemiller 2 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      wonderful -

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 2 years ago from United States

      A little kindness lets people know we still care and that sometimes people have hard luck and it can't be helped. When we see a chance to let our spirits shine, then we should do so. I saw a chance in a clinic when a man who was obviously poor by his dress and physical condition, did not have thirty dollars to pay his bill. Even though I had little in my own pocket, I had to pay this man's bill. I told the receptionist that perhaps one day someone may do the same for me.whonu

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 2 years ago from California

      Ann, these are excellent suggestions for any time of year! I bet the hats and sleeping mats are very much appreciated as well as the hygiene care packages. Another suggestion is to buy gift cards for local fast food restaurants or places with cheap food. A warm, fresh meal goes a long way.

    • annmackiemiller profile image

      annmackiemiller 3 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      thanks for visiting Jodah

    • annmackiemiller profile image

      annmackiemiller 3 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      good thinking Paul - that is why I prefer giving food vochure but have discovered very few of the food places in Keighley are willing to serve the homeless - nuff said.

    • Paul Ward profile image

      Paul 3 years ago from Liverpool, England

      If you're buying food and drink, do ask the people first - preferences and allergies.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I live in a rural area and the closest small town has no obvious homeless people on the streets, but we do donate items such as knitted beanies, knee rugs an socks to a charity. Whenever I go to the city I will give some change to any homeless I see. Great hub, spreading awareness and encouraging good will.