In today’s entry, Julian Omidi discusses the many ways we can be of assistance to the homeless who live in our communities.
People who want to assist the homeless often wonder if giving pocket change is the best way to approach the situation. Of course, a spare 50 cents or an extra dollar can indeed go a long way for someone who is living on the streets. But are there better ways to help homeless people than giving whatever we find in our pockets?
The experts at JustGive.org offer a useful list of ideas that are usually better than the traditional “Buddy, can you spare a dime,” solution. They suggest the next time you encounter homeless people and you want to help them, consider one or more of the following ideas:
• To begin with, always try to treat homeless people with the same respect you would expect if the roles were reversed.
• Keep a list of homeless shelters on a card or in your device. When you encounter someone who is looking for a place to sleep, direct them to the closest shelter.
• Many people, especially those who live in large cities, carry a bit of nonperishable food with them to give to hungry people they see in the course of the day.
• Yes, it helps to give small amounts of money directly to people who ask for it, but also consider donating to nonprofit organizations that support the homeless in your community. Quite often, just five or 10 dollars can go a long way in the hands of a charitable entity.
• Donate a bag of healthful groceries to your local homeless shelter on a regular basis. This is a doubly smart tactic, as it not only feeds hungry people but cuts the shelter’s food expenses. That way, there’s more money available for beds, job-training programs, etc.
• Volunteer your time at a homeless shelter. Whether you end up serving food, doing maintenance or tutoring children and adults, your talents will be welcome.
Be good to each other, and do what you can for the less fortunate individuals and families who live in your town,
Julian Omidi, along with his brother Dr. Michael Omidi and mother Cindy Omidi, are advocates and co-founders of numerous non-profit organizations, including Civic Duty and many others.