Don’t Give Up on Hope is the first way to address homelsessness in my blog series “Ten Ways to Address Homelessness” with 60 tips or action steps of practical ways to make it happen! The second way to address homelessness is . . .
- Meet their physical needs.
Christ met the physical needs of people all the time. Christ also had infinite amounts of wisdom when ministering to individuals and groups. He could see the heart and thoughts of a person. When meeting the physical needs of the homeless, you need to think about your safety. Many homeless people are harmless, but when dealing with any stranger, you should use caution and remember your safety is important. There are many homeless who need a caring heart to reach out to them. Countless ways to care for the homeless exist. Offering rides to a person you do not know is not something I recommend. You should always be aware of your surroundings and leave if you feel unsafe.
Here are a few practical ways of meeting the physical needs of the homeless:
- Get cards or brochures from your local homeless shelter to hand out to the homeless of your city. Some will already know about the shelters in their area, but hearing about it from someone never hurts.
- Hand out emergency kits stocked with a bottle of water, snack, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush, and toothpaste.
- Contact the local homeless shelter and let them know of people who might be sleeping in the cold and need help. We can sometimes get accustomed to seeing someone laying under a tree or bridge somewhere and simply pass them by unnoticed. Observe their movements. Be on the lookout. A person could be on the verge of hypothermia or heat stroke. If you don’t feel comfortable checking on them yourself, call the police. You might just save his or her life.
- Instead of money, carry gift cards to McDonalds or some other resteraunt. In some cases, you can buy them a meal rather than giving out cash.
- Carry blankets in your car during the cold weather months and hand those out to the homeless.
- Educate yourself on the services available in your community that help the homeless so you can let them know what organizations can give them assistance. Our shelters, Faith Refuge and Faith Mission, employ case managers to meet with the homeless and help them get back on their feet. The case managers help them obtain their driver’s licenses or state I.D.s and social security cards. The case managers also assist with job applications, housing authority requirements, health care issues and so much more. Our homeless shelters are also blessed with grants to help pay for simple things like eyeglasses, prescription medicine, and deposits on rental properties.
Wichita Falls Faith Mission and our shelters, Faith Refuge and Faith Mission, belong to this community. We are here because of the generous people of the North Texas area. I encourage you to call and schedule a tour and see for yourself the life-changing work that is happening at the shelters. Get involved as a volunteer and pray for the work.
Next time, we’ll take a look at how we can listen to the stories of our homeless neighbors.