I often have the question put to me, “What can I do to help homeless families and/or teens?” Well, just in time for the holiday spirit, here are suggestions that range from free/fast to more complicated/commitment. I'm always pushing the concept of Compassion Epidemic. These are ways you can make that happen.
Your local shelter (if you have any) will be happy to receive:
- packs of socks, undies for kids of all sizes/ages
- new/gently-used shoes, practical styles for school/play
- hygiene items (toothpaste, brushes, shampoo, soap, combs, etc.)
- coats, hats and gloves, especially for kids (assuming they serve kids)
- baby stuff—formula, diapers, wipes, etc.
If you don’t have a shelter, contact the homeless liaison in your school district (each district is required to have one). Ask that person what’s needed. They might suggest:
- band instruments, sports equipment, school/scout uniforms (gently-used)
- school supplies
- snack foods to discretely distribute to hungry kids
- bus passes
- Offer to read, tutor, or otherwise mentor kids. This requires a regular commitment of your time and the proper attitude. School or shelters.
- Volunteer at your local shelter.
- Volunteer to tutor or read to kids at your local public school.
DONATE HELPFUL TOOLS TO YOUR SCHOOLS/SHELTERS/LIBRARIES
HEAR US has a selection of modestly-priced, acclaimed videos and books that greatly increase awareness and compassion for homeless students. Many schools aren’t aware of them, or lack the funds, or…whatever. You can be the conduit for these items, and here’s the order form. (Plus, this supports HEAR US!)
- Sign the petition that goes right to your Members of Congress, urging them to cosponsor the Homeless Children and Youth Act. Takes just seconds, only need to share your zip code.
- Share the above petition with your networks of friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc.
- Invite me to speak to your community, university, group, etc. Yup. Ask. Let’s see what happens!
- Share my Facebook posts with your FB friends. Comment. Friend me.
Notice I didn't put any suggestions about holiday gifts or activities. That's because of my years running shelters and going crazy at holiday time with overabundance, while suffering through the drought of scarcities during the rest of the year. I won't inflict that similar pain on others. Do as you want for holidays. You will anyhow. And I didn't make a big deal about donating to HEAR US, but you can do that and we'll be very appreciative.
This is just the beginning of a list that you can add to by commenting on this blog. Yeah, share this blog, too. ’Tis (always) the season to be kind…!