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3 Ways To Help The Homeless Without Spending Any Money

Updated on April 21, 2012


Homeless people need your help. They are worldwide, whether you see them as you walk down the street or if they are unseen to you as you sit on a couch within a heated house. Many people explain that they would like to help the homeless populations but do not have the extra money. After all, many economies worldwide are in a slump right now.

Here are ways to help the homeless people in your local community without spending a single penny. Even without money to spare, you can still help others.

You can help someone in need.
You can help someone in need. | Source

Donate Material Items

Donate clothes you do not wear anymore
Donate clothes you do not wear anymore | Source

Donate Material Items

You may have clothes in your closet that you have not worn in years.

Perhaps items to donate are the jeans that you were hoping to one day squeeze in to or the hippie shirt that went out of fashion three years ago. Likely there are clothes, as well as blankets and towels, in closets that are not being used.

Yesterday I donated an extra comforter and towels to a local charity here in Victoria, British Columbia. It only took a few minutes out of my day to fold the items and leave them outside my building's front door.

Many charities will pick up the items from your residence. You do not even have to use gas to drive to the non-profit organization or struggle carrying the items from the bus stop. Convenience is here. Simply pick up the phone and call a local agency.

Whether you meet them or not, the homeless people who wear your donated clothes or use your blankets will be thankful for your giving nature.

You have not spent a cent yet you have helped at least one person in need.

Help out at a kitchen
Help out at a kitchen | Source

Donate Time

Another way to help homeless people in your city without spending money is by donating your time to volunteer.

Search online or use the phone book to find local charities dedicated to helping people without a place to call home. There are soup kitchens in Victoria, for example, as well as shelters and drop-in centres.

While some organizations require volunteers to give a certain amount of shift time per week, other facilities do not have a minimal requirement. Be realistic in how much time you are able to devote in your schedule to the particular non-profit organization.

Volunteer regularly or on special occasions such as holidays if that is a better fit for your schedule. No commitment is too small when it comes to helping other people.

Donate non-perishable items
Donate non-perishable items | Source

Food Donations

Donations of food are another way to help homeless people.

Perhaps you have a few tins of soup in the cupboard that you bought for your son, who has now decided he doesn't care for the taste and refuses to eat. Put the tin to good use by giving it to a local charity that supports the homeless situation in your city.

Donate non-perishable items that are still well within their expiry date. Examples are soup, crackers, jars of pasta sauce, and pastas. Hand-deliver the items to the local shelter or inquire if there are drop-off locations nearby your residence.

Taking the time to go through your cupboards for a few extra items to donate, costs you nothing but is highly worthwhile to the recipient. You may have just provided the food for a family's next meal. You have not spent any money yet that family is thankful for your donation.

Every Little Bit Helps

You have likely heard the phrase "every little bit helps". Whether donating your time or donating items you already have around the house, you are helping someone else who is in need.

Choosing charities within your own city will have a positive effect on your local surroundings. The effort needed to help a homeless person is far outweighed by the goodness you feel by knowing you have done a good deed without requiring anything in return.

Do You...

Do you regularly donate time or goods to a homeless organization?

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    • m abdullah javed profile image

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      4 years ago

      Hi Christy, It was nice going through a wonderful and humane hub. Thanks. Keep writing on such social issues. I do agree with your pragmatic suggestions. As a continuation to your discussion I wish to submit the following.

      First of all there is an urgent need to understand as to why a person remains homeless? Is it his fate or because of lack of resources or poverty? Is it because he or she accustomed to street by living or is it his family members who are responsible for the homelessness?

      If we take initiative and help the needy with material resources, as you have rightly pointed out, his bodily needs get fulfilled. We need to focus on the spiritual aspect too, the person, who is homeless, desperately needs a shelter to live in. Is it possible to provide? You can say yes there are n numbers of shelters. But how can a shelter of four walls give a familial and emotional touch? That which a normal person enjoys in the camaraderie of his parents, wife or children?

      I think this is a herculean task, need time, money and energy to realize. We should inculcate a sense of social service among our youth and children. Elders should get inspiration from the fact that God has created us for the interpretation of humanity otherwise as far His worship is concerned; there are uncountable angles and other creatures that are busy in praising and worshiping.

      As a long term strategy we should have a vision of a complete abolition of homelessness from the society. And as a short term strategy we should work out at Governmental, societal, institutional and individual levels. Particularly orphan children must find a place in our home. A home should be considered as a sweet home not because of its lavish interiors and exteriors but because within its four wall a soul of an orphan finds rest.

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 

      5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Great suggestions! People should be careful though, and make certain the agencies are actually donating the items to the poor and the homeless. In my local area, many of the organizations and even churches will take the donations, promising to give them to the needy. Later we found they were actually selling the items to fund renovation to their buildings. Items that didn't sell were thrown in the trash, and any people who tried to "steal" from the dumpsters were arrested.

      I think it is abominable to throw anything away that could be of use to someone, and to arrest someone for stealing these items from trash receptacles. No wonder so many people have to do without! Anyhow, just make certain that donated items actually get where they need to go. Volunteering time in these places is a great way to make sure of how the facility operates.

      Great hub! Voting and sharing!

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      5 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Up, Useful, Interesting, and shared with followers and on social networking sites. All good suggestions.

      Also free is participating as a citizen in local, state/provincial, and national politics. Government budgets, policies, and programs can affect who can scrape by and who is homeless. An increase in minimum wage, a crackdown on wage theft, zoning and land use policies, expansion of Medicare to all (in the US), unemployment insurance policy, etc., etc., can make a significant difference.

      A way to help a homeless person with a small amount of money is with a food kit. A plastic jar of peanut butter, a plastic knife from a fast food joint, a package of crisp bread or healthy crackers, a finger salad in a zip bag, an apple, some candy that doesn't melt or some cookies. Back in the 60s I used to go hitchhiking around Illinois with a kit like that, along with a few clothes and a book, in an old typewriter case that I used also to sit on and rest. It's easy to reach out of a car window and give a bag lunch making kit like that to a homeless beggar. These days there are also pop-top cans, so add a plastic spoon and a can of, say, applesauce or pudding or corn.

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Best of luck Beth with the campaign and thank-you for all of the hard work to help as well!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Really good ideas here!!! Anything helps to any homeless child/families!!

      We are doing a charity campaign for homeless in San Diego (assembling healthcare kits to be distributed at the shelter community before Christmas this year 2012 (to be distributed at St Vincent de Paul).

      We are collected used towels, socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoos and t shirt for the homeless... Anyone who wants to donate goods..pls help us...really for a good cause. Please check our website:

      God Bless!!

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Yes @rahul, sometimes the people don't know how to use the money effectively or have the means to get out of the darkness they are in... Thanks for your comment and adding in the factors. I hope the hub helps someone give their time and then I know the hub has been worth writing. Take care my friend.

    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 

      6 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      Really good ways to help those need it...

      We should tend more towards helping the with food and clothing because I think the money we give them does not come to use... in most cases...

      Generally these people will tend to buy alcohol or drugs from the money because they come from such destroyed backgrounds... therefore the methods you suggest become all the more important..

      Nice hub

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @bdegiulio, thanks to YOU for such a kind comment and for your support here. Yes, what we may not need can often benefit others. How wonderful that is!

      @carter06, How nice of you to have done that! You certainly made someone's day, week, and perhaps even their month :)

      @Jason, You are right about the variety of reasons. The main concept for focus is that they are currently homeless and there are ways we that are more fortunate can help. The comments and support here warm my heart and I hope they inspire people to donate warm blankets and such to others.

      @Trinity, How wonderful that you are instilling such giving principles into your son Trinity. I appreciate that you stopped by to read and also consider this topic to be important.

      @Mary, Excellent! Thank-you for giving of your time and support.

      @Curiad, There are no obligations as anything is certainly better than nothing. Thanks for the positive words.

      @Shampa, Your comment warms my heart and I thank you. If even one person benefits from this hub then I am happy. Take care and blessings.

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @Janine, thanks for both your giving nature in helping the homeless and for the kind remark. I am pleased that this hub is educational. Take care

      @Sunshine, You are right that not a lot of time is needed. Help others and we help ourselves in the process with kindness :) Thanks for all of your support my friend.

      @ignugent17, Giving is a generous gesture and I'm glad you agree :)

      @Josh, I do hope this hub helps motivate people to give of their time. It really is more valuable than money in the long run. Thanks Josh! I am glad Bill shared so that you could read. Take care.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Christy. An excellent reminder that there are many ways to help those who may be down on their luck and in need of help. One person's unused stuff may be someone's else's treasure. Thanks for keeping us all grounded and putting things into perspective.

    • carter06 profile image


      6 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Such a good reminder Christy, def sharing this...a few years back I decided to only give new clothes/blankets etc if I dignity I felt...cheers

    • Jason Marovich profile image

      Jason F Marovich 

      6 years ago from Detroit

      Thank you to all the kind people that help the homeless here. This article really does have some good ideas for helping people on the streets. The thing about a homeless person is that, many times, you have no way of knowing how they became homeless. Essentials like cold weather gear and food are far more needed by homeless than cash, in most cases. Voted up and useful.

    • Trinity M profile image

      Trinity M 

      6 years ago

      Another wonderful hub Christy. It is so important to give back to those less fortunate, not for their sake really but for our own. I am teaching my son random acts of kindness and your hub has some great ideas. Great job. Voted up and awesome.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      6 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for reminding us all to help others. You have good suggestions here. I help out in our church's soup kitchen, and that makes me feel good.

      I voted this UP, etc.etc. and will share.

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 

      6 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      Great tips Christy! even if done once in a while it is worthy.

    • shampa sadhya profile image

      Shampa Sadhya 

      6 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA

      Voted up and beautiful!

      Indeed a good thought. If followed seriously then undoubtedly a few lives can be changed for the better. I admire your thought and I very sincerely follow it too whenever the opportunity arises. A very well written hub as well as with a very good intention.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      6 years ago from New York, New York

      Many of these things are things that my husband and I both do regularly to help those less fortunate than ourselves. Thank you for writing this hub, because I agree that many don't realize all that can be done for those who are homeless without actually having to give them money. Will share and vote this one up, thanks again!!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hi Christy, This hub is an excellent reminder that we could all help out by donating. I do my share. All it takes is a few minutes of our time to help make someone else feel a bit better about themselves.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I agree with you ChristyWrites that if you give you don't expect a return. Wonderful hub !

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      This is an excellent hub chock full of great ideas to help those out in need. Great job Christy, I try to help out whenever possible! I came across this hub because of Bill's share! So many people unfortunately do not invest their time to helping those in need; they definitely need to read this hub! Voted up and more and sharing!

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @Docmo, thank-you for such a great comment. I speak from experience and have seen homeless people struggle. So glad you enjoy the hub.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 

      6 years ago from UK

      What a humane, practical hub Christy. you are a star for suggesting these elegant ways to help the homeless. Well done.

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @Alocsin, I understand your situation. There are many alternatives to giving straight cash to help the homeless. I'm smiling as I hope you now have new ways to keep helping others :)

    • alocsin profile image


      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      When I encounter homeless peoples, I have mixed feelings: I sympathize with their plight but don't feel comfortable giving them money. Your suggestions are an excellent compromise. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @Levertis, Thanks for the comment and I'm glad you are helping others as well. Take care.

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 

      6 years ago from Southern Clime

      Yes, helping is easier than most think, and this is something that nearly anyonce can do.

      Great hub! Thanks!

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @livingpah2004, I wish there were more people that thought like you! Keep spreading your kindness :)

    • livingpah2004 profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      Great ideas. We always do. They really need help. I wish I could do more to help them out. Useful and voted up!

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @rebeccamealey, We do get so much in return for helping others. I'm glad you enjoyed the read, thanks for your comment.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      6 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      It always is a lift in spirit to help the unfortunate. Thanks for reminding us to help the homeless.

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Vinaya, I agree that giving time and material items are far more valuable than giving cash. Thank-you for your comment and appreciation my friend.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      6 years ago from Nepal

      When I don't feel like wearing clothes I always donate to the homeless people. And I have found giving food is better than giving money to the needy people.

      I appreciate your endeavors.

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Absolutely, small actions are important too. Thank-you Cardisa for the positive comments here!

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Chanroth, I smiled as I read your comment. Your words are genuine and wonderful. I believe that we are here to help one another and am pleased with your giving nature. Take care.

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks my hub-friend. You humble me.

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks dmop for your comment and sharing your experiences as well. I agree that giving one's time trumps monetary donations.

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank-you eye say. I am pleased you enjoyed the hub and appreciate the share too.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 

      6 years ago from Jamaica

      What a wonderful way to help the homeless! It goes to show that we all can give a helping hand. We don't have to be rich, a sandwich here and blanket there. Every small or big gesture counts for something.

      Have a wonderful day.

    • chanroth profile image


      6 years ago from California, USA

      Hi Christy, this hub is wonderful! I have been doing this for a very long time. Just a few days ago a homeless man caught in a storm, I give him one of my dad leather jacket raincoat, two flannel shirt and two pairs of jeans. We gave him some soup. It is a wonderful feeling to give especially those who in times of need. My parent tells me, "you complain about how nasty your food taste, think about those who are starving." I vote up and many more. Great hub!


    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great job Christy; a worthy cause and I applaud you for this hub!

    • dmop profile image


      6 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

      I have gone so far as to bring a homeless man home with me, offering him a meal and shower. I also donate my time and skills in times of disaster, it has given me a sense of accomplishment above any paid labor I have been a part of. Great Hub, voted up and awesome.

    • eye say profile image

      eye say 

      6 years ago from Canada

      great ideas thanks for sharing ... I will too

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi Lee, given your personal experiences I am very glad you added more information here in your comments. Thank-you for your share. I volunteered with a local drop-in centre for homeless people and it was rewarding in so many ways. I do hope the hub helps people to remember about those in need in their local community. Take care.

    • Drtruthman profile image


      6 years ago from Harlingen, Texas

      I have worked with homeless for years as well as coming close to being homeless myself on 3 occasions. Obviously I relate. There are many ways to help. I believe from personal experience the best way is to volunteer or contribute to Goodwill, Salvation Army, United Way and most mainline church denominations also have great programs people can get involved with. I recommend checking with your own local church, temple, synagogue or house of worship. More goes on here than people realize. When I was a pastor full time in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, we were made aware in the winter months, that there are up to 10,000 homeless on the streets at any time in that one major city alone. This continues to be a very real problem which so many take for granted. Thank you for addressing the problem Christy. A great job. I voted UP all across except for funny. Lee

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Awe, thanks Patti!

    • Patti Riggs Hale profile image

      Patti Riggs Hale 

      6 years ago from Burdette, Arkansas

      I agree completely! Voted up and awesome.

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks Doreen. I think it is good to keep in perspective how much we do have even on the difficult days. Take care.

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank-you Marc. Yes! Many homeless people have mental illnesses and no place to live. I hope that the hub inspires people to understand they don't need to give money and their time really can positively affect another person who needs the assistance.

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Beaurocracy, for one. I wish the answer were an easy one.

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Your comment is wonderful. Giving the gloves to that man is so touching. You changed his life in a positive way and he will remember that.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Christy - excellent reminder to all of us to dig a bit deeper and have some compassion for those who have less than we do. It sometimes takes so little and means so much.

    • Marc Babineau profile image

      Marc Babineau 

      6 years ago from Cornwall, Ontario, The Seaway City

      A very compassionate and timely post! Great job, Christy! When they are not homeless by choice (which they state is about 30% of homeless people) this is a plight brought on by the government's willingness to allow too many people to fall between the cracks.

    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 

      6 years ago from America

      why are they homeless? we have 67 million getting an average of 34000 dollars a year from the government, we have food stamps, housing projects etc

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 

      6 years ago

      We have the Salvation Army and the Goodwill stores in Maine.Sometimes I see a homeless person and I wonder if they get the help they need.So I just give to them directly a few shirts or a coat.Sometimes they take it sometimes they don't.Great ways to give and I will look for other charities for the homeless.I love new creative ideas.Once I gave my gloves in the wintertime to a man whoneeded them more than me.I knew I could by another pair.A kind heart goes along way.Thanx for reminding us every day.

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks Kristen. I agree that actions can be more meaningful than receiving cash. No money needed!

    • Kristen Haynie profile image

      Kristen Haynie 

      6 years ago from Modesto, CA

      These are great ideas! I think that many people don't realize there are other ways to help the homeless than just handing out money. The ways you listed are all more meaningful, I think. A blanket and a hot meal go a long way compared to the spare change in your pocket.


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