Updated: Apr 6
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but this phrase rings hollow to the homeless during the holidays. How can they enjoy Christmas and all its traditions when they have no home, no family, and only memories to keep them warm?
How can they be alone during the holidays when there are families everywhere, and not feel the weight of it all?
Read on to find out about how you can help alleviate their sadness and give them hope.
Alone for the holidays, again
Homelessness is an unfortunate reality that more than half a million Americans face on a daily basis. Poverty is a harsh reminder that none of us are exempt from tragedy, and it often puts people in situations they never imagined they’d find themselves in.
This time of year especially can present challenges for those who are homeless or living in poverty.
Though many shelters work hard to provide beds for everyone, there still aren’t enough resources available.
Many homeless families have to decide between food or buying presents for their children.
These stories break our hearts, but these stories could be much worse if not for the individuals who step up to help when they don’t have to. There are thousands of ways you can be one of those individuals who provide hope and healing to those who need it most.
Whether you choose to volunteer your time, donate money, or buy presents for homeless kids, giving is giving—and in any capacity will make a difference in somebody’s life. Donating just a few dollars will make sure someone gets dinner tonight and will give them hope that tomorrow will be better.
The next time you’re out shopping between now and New Year’s Day, take a minute to look around. You may see a homeless child—someone whose life looks very different from your children’s but who is also hoping to find something special under their tree that day.
Regardless of why they are there, how they got there, or if they have a roof over their head at night - these kids are human beings just like yours.
Do you ever wonder what it would be like to be them?
What if your parents passed away? What if your house burned down? What if you had no money for food? No family to turn to for help? Imagine yourself in those situations.
It’s okay to spend time thinking about these things. We all do, especially around Christmastime when we give so much thought and attention to others ... families, friends, neighbors ... people we love dearly. Don’t dwell there, but use it instead toward action.
Think about those people you don’t know, the children whose lives may be changed by a gift from you.
What you can do for someone experiencing homelessness this Christmas
If you’re fortunate enough to be able to do so, donate blankets or warm clothing in winter or give them a gift card for groceries and let them purchase the food they can eat in dignity (hot chocolate is nice).
You don’t have to feel bad if they don’t accept your help, but it would be nice if you had something to offer when you see someone on a day-to-day basis that has lost everything and has nothing. It's not an easy life... I know firsthand.
I was homeless at one point in my life: Couchsurfing, living with people who didn't care about me, and moving back into an abusive household because I had no better choice.
There are more stories like mine out there; we just need people who will make us feel human again.
People may say there isn't anything they can do to help, but when they see me or another homeless person, they could always give us a kind word or smile.
Will you be the blessing they’ve been praying for this holiday season?
Will you help my friends with a one-time or monthly gift to the Bautista Project?