There were few times I took a plastic bags filled with food with me to hand out to the homeless I saw. Some were old, some were young, an amputee holding out an empty old can or a mother and infant sitting in the blazing heat hoping to warrant the charity of a few coins and some were just trying to get some rest in the small space they had created for themselves.
If we all were concerned we can reduce the numbers by sharing and showing love to these children even in a small way. However, handing out a few coins results in sense of helplessness as this donation often goes to their “beggar masters,” drugs or to parents who often spend it on alcohol or illegal substances.
Here are a few things we can do to help ease the burden of homelessness and street children.
If you are interested in helping street and homeless children, you can volunteer to work in shelters and other programs in your area, or donate funds or supplies to organizations that work with street children and homeless.
The simplest and the most valuable thing you can give to a child is time. Spend some time to ask them their names, what they like to do, or their favorite games and play with them.
3. Eat together
Let the street kids seat in the same place as where you eating. Dining together is a great way to spend time with someone whilst letting them enjoy a warm meal. Try to eat together in one of the local eateries rather than a fast food chain. At least you know that day they had a nice meal. If we all do the same where we see street kids and feed them, we then know we gave someone a smile for the day at least.
4. Keep them warm
During the cold nights, it can be very difficult to stay warm living on the street especially during rainy season. When this happens we should do our best to at least give out used or new blankets and bedding to help them to keep warm during the night. Let’s help them stay warm from the elements of our cold nights. Just imagine the happiness and relief we can bring these individuals.
We can reach out to thousands of homeless people that might otherwise be left helpless. Not only are we keeping these people warm but we are also helping them survive freezing weather in their already harsh conditions.
5. Keep a few items in your car
I find it hard to ignore the children who gather around the car window and beg, “Madam, please, I am hungry” when we are waiting for the traffic signal to turn green. Ever since then I've kept a few items in our car like old clothes, sandwiches, fruits or anything that ready to hand out if I see someone who needs it. I’ve also got bottled water to keep homeless stays hydrated while the heat rages. I've started keeping a handful of P5 pesos in the car. I recognize that some of the people I have given things to are likely scam artists but that's a risk I'm willing to take in hopes that I'm also occasionally helping someone who is really in need.
6. Your voice
If all you have to give is your voice speak up in favor of low-income housing, group homes, shelters, and homelessness prevention programs. You can organize site visits for political leaders and the media to visit local homeless programs to highlight ways that your community is successfully addressing the many problems associated with homelessness. Call or write the media to inform them of your concern for people experiencing homelessness in your area.
Write editorials when important issues related to homelessness arise in your community. Lastly, encourage your classmates, co-workers, organization or club members to join or support your efforts.
We know not everyone can or wants to give money but at least we could acknowledge their existence with a gentle hello or a smile. Please, don’t look away from homeless people as if they do not exist. Remind ourselves that people who are in such situations are still people… just people who are going through a difficult period in their lives. Making eye contact, saying a few words, or smiling can reaffirm the humanity of a person at a time when homelessness seems to have stripped it away. Wouldn't you be like to brighten someone's day if you had a chance? So the next time you feel like being generous with smile, just do it! And mean it. Give them a reason to smile.
8. Buy something
What's the point if I'm not doing something about it? Feeling bad doesn't help anyone. It might not be much, but maybe by buying something from them will be a very big help so they can go home a little earlier and rest an extra hour and by giving them a prayer for their safety, good health and better life.
Blessings and God’s promised to those who serve the poor:
Prov. 22:9 He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.
Deut. 15:10 You shall give generously to [your poor brother], and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings.
Is. 58:10 "And if you give yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness, and your gloom will become like midday. And the LORD will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail."
God's making a very simple proposal here: "You help the poor, and I'll repay it."