As of January 2017, it was reported that there are approximately 552,742 homeless individuals living in the United States. While this number is said to have decreased in some states and Washington, DC, the epidemic of homelessness is still a major concern. How can we help combat homelessness? How can we provide adequate assistance to less fortunate individuals? How can we help them regain their independence? Helping people find their way is just as important as supporting them in the interim.
There is no such thing as too much help. Volunteering with non-profit organizations that focus on combating homelessness is key. “It takes a village,” is a true statement and a staple of community activism. Often, the first step to volunteering is having the compassion, will and drive to help those less fortunate than oneself. This compassion may come from direct or indirect experience with the same circumstances. This compassion can also derive from imagining the pain, sorrow, and helplessness that one may feel, being unable to live to satisfaction …or happiness. There are many who are pushing through difficult situations, on the verge of giving up. As a volunteer, you can be their guide or even their inspiration to an improved future.
PROVIDE HEALTHY MEALS
Food drives are held all over the world during the holidays. Shoppers and residents are asked to donate non-perishable items to provide meals to families and individuals in need. Normalize this action often. It goes back to volunteering at your local food pantries or donating healthy food items according to their [local food pantries] standards. The people these pantries feed may not have access to healthcare. Therefore, the food they consume should be nutritious.
PROVIDE QUALITY CLOTHING
Sweltering heat and freezing temperatures can potentially, (and have, in some cases) claim the lives of many homeless individuals. Especially during the winter months, it is important that they are clothed appropriately to fend off the freezing temperatures. Check with your local non-profits to see where you can donate slightly used, and in good condition clothing for homeless individuals. Also, check with your county officials to learn who to call when you see someone struggling on the street during freezing temperatures. A hypertension hotline may exist in your city/state.
Food and clothes aren’t the only needs in the homeless community. Donating unscented, and unused personal hygiene products can promote health and wellness
GET INVOLVED. STAY INVOLVED.
If you are in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, and are interested in volunteering, Feters United is actively seeking volunteers for their monthly Feeding the Homeless project. Click here to sign up.