Poverty and homelessness are very real, growing problems in this country. They will not go away without awareness and a concerted effort to help those in need, as well as some changes on the government level.
We would like to say they aren’t issues here. Poverty exists in third world countries, not ones as developed and rich as the United States. Many believe homelessness can never happen to them without really understanding why it happens.
It might be a long time, if ever, before we are able to ease the levels of poverty and thusly, homelessness but by becoming involved we can make changes in the way they are seen and help those in need.
What can you do? Start with compassion and the recognition that anyone could be poor or homeless with not much of a turn of fortune. Give freely of anything you can, including your time, to improve the quality of life of those in need or without homes.
Carry around care packages in your car to distribute to the homeless you see on the side of the road asking for help. These can be as simple as a lunch bag filled with snacks and a bottle of water, to jackets or blankets too in colder climates.
Volunteer at local shelters and donate food items and clothes and toys, for the children, to them.
Organize a food drive to keep the shelters and food banks stocked. Enlist the help of local businesses in providing services and goods to the homeless, such as food, babysitting, haircuts and medical screenings.
Children shouldn’t have to do without ever but especially during the holidays. Organize a toy drive or wish tree to help give the underprivileged and homeless children a nicer holiday or a children’s party with holiday characters.
Donate glasses, clothes, bedding, and any other useful items to shelters and charities. These items, which are seemingly so disposable to those who have plenty, can be reused and should be put to good use.
Educate your children on the truths and effects of poverty and the teach them to have compassion for those in need. With awareness comes change.
Most of all, remember those affected by poverty and especially homelessness are human beings. Treat them with dignity and remember, you don’t know why they are homeless, don’t judge. Just help