Just as you show friends and neighbors in your life that you care, you can do the same for the homeless man or woman you see every day.
You might not be able to provide them with permanent housing, health care, a job interview, or an emergency shelter. But... the best way to help is to provide for an immediate need. This frees him/her from worrying about where their next meal or clean shirt will come from and allows them to focus on the next most important thing in Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
Some of the best things you can give to a homeless individual
Here is a quick list of items you can keep on hand to pass out to the unhoused population in your area:
Refillable Plastic Water Bottle
First Aid Kit
Non-perishable Food Items (ex., granola bars, protein bars, beef jerky, peanut butter crackers, etc.)
Personal Hygiene Items
Laundry Detergent, travel size
Many of these items can be picked up at the dollar store and require a minimal investment of your time and finances. And yet, it goes a long way in showing a homeless person you see them and care.
You can also give your time.
Here are a few ways you can help provide direct services, hot meals, and more:
Volunteer at a local soup kitchen
Lobby local government for permanent supportive housing solutions
Join the board of local agencies
Talk to homeless folks, get to know them
Attend fundraisers for nonprofit organizations in your local community
Join tBP on a Saturday when we pass out personal care items and snack packs
Donate your time, money, and attention to those who are doing the work
Take action today. Give people what they truly need
At The Bautista Project, we regularly pass out hygiene kits, Snack Paxx filled with non-perishables, clean socks, water bottles, feminine hygiene products, clothing items, and other basic necessities.
You can combine a few of these items into homeless care packages and keep them in your car so you can easily pass them through a window at a street light. It's often not about the item you hand them but rather about being seen. Kindness from strangers is in short supply for those living on the streets.
If a smile and a kind word from a stranger make your day brighter, why wouldn't it make theirs better too?
Don't look away.