Helping Poor People in Your Area
Ways we have tried to help the poor in our area.
Helping the Poor in Our Own Neighborhoods
Helping the poor is a great thing to do, and there probably aren't many that would disagree with this. I saw a question posed about what I had been a part of personally in my area, of how I have helped the poor. I have to admit that I am no expert in this subject, but I can share what I and my family have done to be part of the community that needs help around us.
My first thought upon seeing the question was that I haven't really helped the poor very much, but then small memories came to mind. We can't help everyone, but we can take small steps in each of our areas if we look for opportunities. Sometimes, you need not look far, for opportunities come your way. Just make sure the charities are legitimate and not some scam. There are all kinds of ways to help. The most overlooked might be some very small things, like the examples I share below. Even a little help can be a bigger help collectively.
I am part of a church that has a food pantry as part of its ministry to people that need food in our community. We give on occasion to this food pantry, as they need more food. For instance they often need more items like peanut butter, breakfast items, and other staples. Every Saturday a group of volunteers hands out sets of bags, including detergent for clothes washing very often. This helps many families to be able to eat and not worry about how they will get money for those things they need. It is a wonderful way to give. If people can't afford to give extra food because of tight funds, they can give of their time to help stock and organize the pantry or bad the items for the next week. We had a member just pass away this last week. He loved the food pantry and helped as he could, even though a very old man. Instead of flowers for his funeral, his wife asked people to help the food pantry. I think this is wonderful and really helps people that are hurting in our area.
Food Pick Ups for Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts
Every fall in the United States, there is a weekend where a group of boys from a local Boy Scout or Cub Scout group will come and leave a bag on or near your door. On the bag are simple instructions for what to do with the bag the next weekend. Simply put a couple of items in the bag from your pantry and they will be picked up the next weekend and given to a local food shelter. I was a cub scout leader of our den for 5 years, and each year it was a joy to do with the boys. We covered a particular neighborhood and particular blocks, then took all the food back to organize and distribute to local food banks or pantries. Its an easy way to help that truly helps the poor.
Giving Away Clothing and Household Items
There are charities in our area that will give a phone call on occasion to ask if you need them to come and pick up clothing or household items from your porch or driveway. Their focus is on children and women needing help, if i am not mistaken. I need to learn more about this charity, but from what I understand they either sell and give the proceeds to help poor people or give them the items they need as they need them. I have seen my neighbors get involved and call them up, and they pick up right from your house.
So often we just throw these kinds of items away, as a quick way to get rid of things as we are cleaning out old closets. I know for a fact that these old items can go to help the poor in one way or another. There are groups that focus on helping people that are trying to find new jobs, get nicer clothing that they can wear to an interview, etc.
Being Part of Groups that Give to Various Charities in Various Ways
I am part of a women's group that is proactive in the community and every year they find a new charity to be a part of and give to. This does two things. First, the obvious of helping a given charity, but it also helps us to learn of new charities that we might never have heard of before.
A few that we have been a part of include an abused women and children shelter, another is shelter for women with unplanned pregancies, and yet another is for kids being placed into foster care. This last one is one where they are looking for suitcases, tote bags or backpacks to give to the kids that are being taken out of their home, to help them have something other than a trash bag to put their belongings in. One statistic showed that kids being taken out of their homes, to have nothing but a trash bag to put their things into. It can make an already horrible situation even more horrible when all they have is a trash bag for their things.
Short Term Opportunities
Volunteering in an orphanage for a short time on a trip to Mexico was another thing I did, as well as in a refugee camp setting. These opportunities came up, and I tried to get involved as much as I could for the time I could. I never regretted doing this and it always opened up my eyes to more going on around me. Since that time, I try to give a little to the group that continues to help refugees in Greece from surrounding countries. I can't be there, but I can give a little as I can.
Helping out in an unplanned pregnancy center was one more thing I was part of for a year. We helped women through their pregnancies starting from the beginning with free pregnancy testing, on through when the baby was born with a layette of clothing and formula as needed.
Putting Skills to Work
My step dad recently was part of a really neat thing in his small town, where they helped give books and homemade bookshelves to needy children. He loves to work with wood, and can make a neat item even out of scrap wood. When his friends heard about this neat thing, they thought of him. It was just a couple of weekends ago where they presented the books and bookshelves to the children for their own rooms. They were so happy, and I mean those that did the work and giving, as much as the kids were happy to receive them.
Doing Even a Little BIt Can Make a Difference
Our total collective small efforts over time can really help poor people in our surrounding communities. None of the things I or my family have been a part of above were big things, but they did show some people we cared during a hard time in their life. We never know when we could be on the other side of things, in great need of help from others that can give it.
My thanks goes out to people that help organize such charities and organizations that reach out to hurting people.