Trying to help a person who is homeless by giving them items can be effective if you know which items to give. A person who is homeless likely endures having personal belongings stolen multiple times, so they are definitely usually in need of something. Further, even the items that don’t get stolen, get worn out from being used constantly as well as extensive exposure to the elements. If you are trying to find items to give to a person who is homeless, consider the following ideas.
Shoes – A person who is homeless wears out their shoes more quickly than a person who is lives indoors. Typically, a person who is homeless owns just one pair of shoes which must be worn constantly. Additionally, they spend a great deal of their time walking, which accelerates the wear and tear on their shoes. If you can find out the shoe size of the homeless individual that you would like to help, try finding them a comfortable pair of replacement walking shoes. Low cost walking shoes can be found in the clearance section of discount stores. If your budget requires you to find a really inexpensive pair of shoes, check thrift stores or even your own closet for gently used shoes that can go to the homeless person you wish to help.
Socks – According to a gentleman on YouTube who has posted videos discussing his previous experience of being homeless, socks are very welcome donations. It must be extremely uncomfortable to have to wear the same socks day after day. No longer homeless, the same man now goes back onto the streets handing out socks, among other things, to the homeless. The socks you donate don’t have to be brand new; freshly washed socks that you picked up at the thrift store for a dime a pair work just as well.
Sleeping bags – Clearly, one of the worst parts about homelessness is the fact that these individuals have no real beds to sleep in. If you have a sleeping bag at home that you can donate, or are able to pick one up at a thrift store or yard sale, the homeless person you are trying to help might get to be just a bit more comfortable at night.
Backpacks – Sadly, people who are homeless are often the target of cruel individuals who will sink so low as to steal the only belongings these people have. If you have a usable backpack to offer, it may help a person who is homeless. Resist the urge to spend a lot of money on a top notch backpack though. Not because the individual doesn’t deserve it, but because it is likely to be stolen again at some point. Try to offer backpacks which are lightweight and not too big.
Clothing to protect against the cold – Coats, knit gloves, scarves, and hats can all be useful to someone who must brave the elements during very cold weather.
Emergency and survival items – Items that may be really helpful to a person who is homeless are light sticks, band-aids, hand sanitizer (can be used to disinfect cuts), a multi-purpose utility tool, reflective emergency survival blankets (about $2 in the camping section at Wal-Mart), and emergency rain ponchos (also found cheap in the camping section).
Restaurant gift cards – Although fast food clearly isn’t the healthiest choice out there, the reality is that a homeless person can obtain food easily from very early morning to late at night, and sometimes even 24 hours per day. This gives them the opportunity to not only get a meal or warm up with coffee, but also to sit down and rest for a while out of the elements. Homeless people are not generally treated well inside many establishments, including grocery stores. But they can probably get something to eat at a fast food restaurant without too many disapproving looks or cruel words.
It’s difficult to help a homeless person to a degree that leaves you feeling as though you’ve done enough for them. However, any sincere gesture helps them to believe that although they face tremendous hardship and a lot of undeserved cruelty, there are some people in the world who still see them for what they are; human beings who just need help and understanding.