Helping the Homeless

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Homelessness is something that really puzzles me. As a society, I feel we have a responsibility to take care of one another. The stigma and stereotype around homelessness is detrimental to those living on the streets. It’s caused people to turn a blind eye many times without a second thought. It’s created a view in society that those who are homeless are less deserving of kindness and compassion and have brought it upon themselves.

Today I wanted to challenge you to ponder what it would be like to be faced with homelessness. What circumstances would land you there? If you lost your job today unexpectedly, how long would your savings be able to keep you afloat? Have you ever made a bad decision or series of choices that could have put you in a bad predicament? What if you didn’t have the support of friends and family? What would it be like to be stuck between a rock and a hard place and be left with no choice other than to live in your car? What if you didn’t even have a car to live in?

I encourage you to see those who live on the street as people. Ask youself what their life must be like. Do they have someone who is worried about them? Someone who cares? Someone who wonders if they’re safe, clothed, fed, and clean? How will they get their next meal? How long has it been since they’ve had a conversation with someone? How long since someone has smiled at them instead of rushing past trying not to make eye contact. Would you be willing to smile at them the next time you go by? How about say hi to them and wish them well. Would you go as far as to have a conversation with them? Take a moment out of your day to inquire about their wellbeing, their story, and even find some common ground?

As a society I think we have a lot of work to do to provide a support system so people don’t fall in between the cracks. In the meantime, it’s up to each of us and the organizations that do what they can to help. Summer is just around the corner which means the temperature will be rising and in some cases will be unbearable. Would you be willing to keep a case of water in the car to hand them out to the homeless? Could you get together with a group of friends or coworkers to make care bags? Can you make time to volunteer at a local food shelter or an organization dedicated to helping the homeless?

I found an organization that I hope expands all across the country and even the world. They dedicate themselves to not only donating items purchased through their crowdfunding efforts but creating a relationship to support the homeless in Philidelphia. Please take a look at their website to see how they’re contributing to impacting those that could really use support.

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Will you contribute to doing something to help the homeless in your local area? How will you help? Feel free to share in the comments! ❤ 

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21 thoughts on “Helping the Homeless

    1. I agree, we can all do something to help. I look at it with the “give a person a fish” scenario. Giving money helps in the moment but there’s a bigger issue and programs like this “teach them to fish”. ❤

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  1. My husband and I support the Denver Rescue Mission. The organization provides food and shelter for homeless people every day. We also support the Dumb Friends League, which gives homeless animals the same care. 🙂

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  2. Back when I had two toddlers I became homeless. I escaped from a horrible marriage and went into a shelter for six weeks. That, unfortunately, was the total time period any of us were allowed to stay. I was able to find a job but lost it after listing the shelter’s address (PO Box) on the employment forms. Day work wasn’t available for me. Panhandling turned into the “job”. Once out of the shelter we were all on our own. I was “lucky”. I had a car. no gas, but it provided shelter from the cold and wet. We had no programs back then to assist us in starting over, getting us showers or food. By the grace of God, I managed to get myself into a shared apartment, found a job and childcare for the boys so I could work. it took two years of homelessness to get there. Please give generously to programs that help people gain their self-esteem and their independence again. You never know how close you are to it yourself.

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    1. I was inspired reading this. I’m so glad you got through those hardships, it’s evidence if how strong you are. I wish you all the best.

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    2. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Suze. I had no idea! Interestingly enough, the scenario you described was one that crossed my mind when I was writing. You were so courageous to not only leave but not to go back. Facing homelessness with two toddlers is terrifying. I can’t believe listing the shelter’s address cost you the job! Thank goodness you didn’t give up and were able to regain your footing.

      I’ve grown up volunteering and giving back and it’s a fundamental part of who I am. I think it’s easy to distance ourselves and think that could never happen to us, but given the “right”set of unfortunate circumstances, we could be just steps away. I’ve never experienced it myself because I’ve been lucky to have my mom, but I’ve thought about it and had it not been for her there are a few circumstances that were beyond my control that could have led to homelessness had I not had her to catch me.

      I really see it as a failure of society, especially because of stories like yours. With the right programs in place, something like that should never lead to homelessness. Thanks again for sharing, Suze. ❤ ❤ ❤

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    3. On an unrelated note, are you participating in The Kindness Challenge this year? I know last year you said you wouldn’t do it again but I remember you reblogged it so I wasn’t sure if you were going to participate or just being kind and helping spread the word. If you aren’t, no worries. If you are, I just wanted to check in because I haven’t seen your reflection post. ❤

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  4. On new year 2016, a few of my friends and I distributed food bought from McDonald’s to the homeless children that roam on the streets, and their smiles were just so grateful. I think I will share some pictures someday, but these are people and they feel happiness and gratitude, as well as sadness and suffering too. mess as well. Thank you for sharing such a great message.

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    1. Man, homeless children is heartbreaking! As if someone being homeless isn’t bad enough, kids is just that much worse.

      I know that feeling will be with you forever! I’m glad you got to experience it. I think it’s important to contribute funds to organizations but have always found volunteering or doing something makes an impact in our life in addition to theirs.

      A couple of years ago, I organized a play date at the park with a mom’s group I’m in. I think there were about 30 of us. We each bought items on a list we made and made bags to give out to the homeless. Each bag was filled with things from water bottles to soft chew snacks, soap, lotion, chapstick, etc. We made hundreds of bags. I think I had about 40 bags to give out. I gave some to my mom and my stepdad and the rest I took in a box every time I got in my car. I put it in the backseat so that whenever I came across a homeless person, my daughter could give them the bag. I’ve never seen so much gratitude in my life. And they were so touched that my 6-year-old was the one giving them the bag.

      It’something my daughter still remembers. I’m going to organize another one this year. Ever since that day, I don’t ride in my car without a cooler full of water. Whenever I come across someone on the street, I give them a nice cold bottle of water.

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      1. This is such a great idea, especially since its so sweltering hit right now, and the fact that you had your daughter give out the care packs is just beautiful. She’s growing up with the right kind of values, I’m sure she’ll make as good of an adult as you.
        Our school used to organise drives like this too for orphanages and old age homes where we brought blankets and wearable clothes from home and gave it to the children and elderly. Once, they came to visit our school directly and received their presents like prizes in front of the whole crowd, and they got to hang out with us at our school fete! You could see everyone escorting one or the other child, even though it wasn’t a requirement. It’s such an amazing sight to behold.

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      2. I love that she’s exposed to it and can contribute if only in a small way. Awww thank you, I’m trying to guide her so she’s better than me 🙂

        That’s awesome! What an incredible experience! It’s amazing that you remember it in such detail and so fondly so many years later. ❤

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  5. I was homeless as a child. Not for very long, but long enough to never allow myself to go numb to the humanity of others living on the streets. I also know that it could happen again. While my husband and I both work, we are not all that stable financially. All it would take to knock us off our foundation would be a significant illness. We wouldn’t be able to keep our house with only one income. So, everyday, I count my blessings.

    There is a lot of homelessness in the town where I live. My church regularly has initiatives to make a difference. We’ve volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and every year host a shelter for two-weeks. I love to participate in these initiatives, but don’t feel like they are addressing the underlying problem–the difficulty of finding and keeping jobs for many in our society.

    So I focus my energy on making a difference in education. If I can empower young people–or older people for that matter–and help them to understand the amazing power of their brains, then perhaps I can help them change the trajectory of their lives and they can find themselves fulfilling jobs that pay enough to provide sufficient housing.

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    1. I’m sorry you experienced it first hand but glad that you keep that experience close so that you can be compassionate to others.

      I agree, while I think what those organizations do is incredibly kind, it’s addressing a symptom instead of the root cause. I think that’s why I was so excited about the organization I linked to because they understand that and are taking steps to create a support system to help people get jobs and homes.

      Thank you for what you do to support those in your community. Education is another can of worms. I think the structure as a whole is broken. Going in debt or not being able to afford school to begin with doesn’t help the issue. I’d love to see more affordable trade schools and apprenticeship opportunities for skilled-labor. Entry level jobs with low wages are great for high school kids learning responsibility and how to contribute to their family and society but are no way for adults with families to have to live to try to earn a living.

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