“Homeless is not a category of people. It’s just a situation that happens. It can happen to anyone.” – Salvador Altamirano-Segura
The homeless have problems just like you and me:
THEY JUST DON’T HAVE A ROOF OVER THEIR HEADS.
Homeless people, families enter food pantries very quietly. They’ve lost their voices. The goal is to melt into the background, get food, and disappear.
There is an exception to the voicelessness when the person communicates with beings unknown to the rest of us in tongues we don’t understand. One shopper I know has been in another world since before I began working in the pantry in 2005.
We can all help the homeless in some way. Each of us has talents and skills which can be useful.
1. DONATE. Homeless people carry their kitchens in their pockets so a lot of food which we take for granted and use is just not helpful. Important in the homeless diet is:
peanut butter and crackers
cereal in small packages
fruits and vegetables which can be eaten raw
milk in small containers.
Give throughout the year by regularly donating to a food pantry in your area which is most homeless friendly.
2. VOLUNTEER. Pantries everywhere need an extra set of hands to:
Drive a truck
Clean up at closing time
Send press releases
Hold food drives
Deliver food to the home bound
3. CLEAN OUT YOUR CLOSETS. Donate clothing, bedding, books, in good condition to places where the homeless will have access to your gently used items.
4. SHARE. Do you or does someone you know have a garden? Donate the excess to a homeless friendly pantry or soup kitchen in your area. When your garden tomatoes get to be too plentiful, there are those in your area who need the food. Donate, don’t dump.
5. PUSH THE ENVELOPE. Contact elected officials about homeless issues in your area. Encourage them to make ending homelessness important in your community.
6. EDUCATE YOURSELF. Returning veterans have special needs. For one thing, they often begin their separation from the military homeless.
7. FIND A JOB. Encourage your church or community to hire a homeless person. Many homeless want to work, have skills, but have trouble finding regular employment.
8. TEACH. Do you have a skill to share? Contact a local shelter and offer to give classes.
Thank you for reading this blog/book.
The stories are true. The people are real.
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Artwork for this article was donated by Jennette Nearhood
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