We have all seen them. We have all driven past and averted our eyes. Our hearts yearn to give to the homeless but have no idea how we can help. We silently mourn the situation of another while praying for some possible way to help those in desperate need. But then we feel lacking and unable to match the need.
I sure know I have. I have seen these men and women, and no I do not think that this speaks to some slacker character. It’s just a sad reality of this fallen world in which we live. People are hurting and in need.
The government is not the whole way to answer this need. Maybe, maybe there is a piece to this that it might be able to help. But the reality is that there are too many in need, and too few governing agents to truly, deeply help. And, we must never place on the shoulders of government what was always in the hands of the people: love for our neighbors.
But, that’s where we come in: The Church.
We are the Body of the Living God, brought out into the flesh with our hands, feet, mouths, eyes, and minds. We are the Word living in the world today. One little step at a time, we are called to answer those in need.
For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them.” ~ Mark 14:7
Don’t allow the enemy to jump in right here and plant seeds of lies. You, the individual reading this, are not responsible for ending all the evils of this world. You, the beautiful person on the other side of the screen, are not meant to carry the weight of all man’s suffering. So, don’t do it. There is a Narrow Way in this that all of us need to keep our toes walking; our Halakha; our Path.
10 Simple Items to Keep in Your Car to Give to the Homeless
The Narrow Way is not burdensome. It is simply each of us answering the call in our specific life circumstances to help as we are able. Remember the old woman who gave out of her poverty? Yes, that.
We can all give to the homeless; whether very much or very little, it does not matter. What matters is the heart – your heart.
People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” ~ 1 Samuel 16:7-11
So, here are 10 items I have found to be helpful to keep around in the car to give when I come upon those in need. I have tried to keep them in a reasonably sized container, or tub, and ready to hand out as needed.
This is surely not at all an exhaustive list, so add to it and change it as you are led. If you can do more, awesome! If you can only do a little, do it. Comparisons are fruitless considerations here.
At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality….” ~ 2 Corinthians 8:14
Clif bars, protein-rich bars, and things like this are really great to have at the ready to hand out to those who may be very hungry. Even if it feels like nothing, the person on the receiving end is usually very thankful.
Cans of Pop-open, Ready-to-eat soups
Progresso-type soups are a nice option for this since they don’t have to be mixed with anything to be eaten. Just heat, if desired, and eat. As little work as possible is typically helpful since you never know if they have a way to add water, heat it in a pot, etc. Keep it simple.
I know McDonald’s and other fast food places have these, but look for the coupon packs that are pretty inexpensive, and can be used to rip off a slip of paper for a food item. This is not the time for a fast food debate, so please don’t comment about it unless you are truly seeking to work out a hardened rule in your mind. When you are starving, you don’t care; and neither will they.
These are SUPER inexpensive and can be purchased in enormous packs at Costco and other large warehouses for less than $5. Keep one in the car at all times and you will be set to hand something out, especially in the heat of summer.
Gift cards are a great option to give to the homeless. It allows you to set aside a resource, like money, that gives an open-ended use to the person. You can get them in the $5-$10 range and have them set aside and ready to hand out. Go one step further and write a prayer or blessing on the card for the individual. They need your prayers.
Since these can be obtained for very little money, and they typically are folded quite compactly, these are another excellent item to keep on hand. No, it is not foodstuff, but they may have these kinds of needs, too. The only way to know is simply to ask.
Razors/Shaving Gel and/or Tampons/Pads
Most of these people may not have the finances to allow them to present themselves for a job interview, or care for their specific gender needs. A practical solution like this may just give them exactly what they need.
Waterless Hair Shampoo
This may or may not actually be helpful, but I figure it can’t hurt. I know that not all homeless people have access to running water for bathing, so a thoughtful option like this may just meet a hygiene need of theirs.
Hygiene is difficult to keep under care when someone is homeless, but baby wipes are an excellent option for keeping up with hygiene when water is not available (my husband even had to use these on occasion for military work when running water was not available in the places that he was sent). They are a super practical option to easily keep on hand.
Even if you have nothing else, if you are stopped at a red light, you can give them a moment of your time and attention. These are people, human beings, and are experiencing a tough time in life, which neither you, nor I, can possibly say is due to their own fault. Hard times happen. We live in a fallen world. Open your window, hold out your hand, and shake theirs (I bet it’s been a while since they have touched another human being). Give them a prayer and a moment of your time. Be a Godly human.