Here are a few quick tips that I hope will help you love them better:
1) Don’t make assumptions.
– I’ve read too many articles that begin with “If someone chooses to live on the street…” Yes, there are the randoms who are living out some wild adventure of travel and carelessness, but they are few and far between. The vast majority are lonely people without family or friends to turn to after debt or illness came crashing down on them.
– You have absolutely no idea how much this matters. How do you feel when someone avoids your phone call or sees you racing for the bus or elevator door and doesn’t hold it? They feel that way 1000 times a day, every single day. Saying hello and a smile is the fastest way to warm them up.
– I know we’re not all money bags, but if you don’t have a dollar for a 7-11 cup of joe, then whatever you’re brewing at home will still be the highlight of their day.
4) Buy or make them a sandwich.
– If you do happen to have $5 to spare, or even cheaper at many convenience stores, then food warms the body. Digestion takes work and it helps heat the body.
– It surprises me how many people are taken aback when I say this is our Outreach teams greatest currency on the street. Think about how it would feel to wear the same pair of socks for a whole week, two weeks? It’s disgusting and it affects how your entire body feels. If you can spare a clean pair, new or not, you’ll be a hero.
6) Blankets or Hoodies.
– Look, I know we’ve all seen videos of some dude running around handing a homeless person a tee shirt, but spare me. I mean, yay, thanks, but that thing is thin and will be trash soon. Hoodies can last for months. Sure, they get dirty, can get smelly and tear here and there, but they remain durable and provide insulation. They’re a big deal. Blankets are a distant second (since they’re bulky and less portable, but they’re still good) so if you have old ones you’re not using, please share. Size is often rarely an issue since they stretch or are still comfortable when baggy.
7) Heat Packs.
– They’re the greatest things in the world and they’re about $1. Most people but them for football games and other outdoor activities. You can find them in gas stations, grocery stores, Targets and Wal Marts.
8) Invite them to Church.
– If your Pastor has a problem with that, I’ll need names. Let them come in and be warm, hear a message that might encourage them and guess what, they usually have coffee.
9) Share this and help other people to also help other people.
10) Love Is An Action.
– Intention, without action, is useless. Intention with action is what brings change. Do good, people. Love more.