According to the U.S. Department of House and Urban Development, over a half a million people are homeless in the USA.
Let that statistic sink in.
That's people that don't have a place to lay their head every night, they may be living on the streets, cold during the winter and hot during the summer. Food, at times, may be scarce, and many of those that are homeless, are children.
Remember yesterday when I discussed my definition of a gift? Give with no expectations? If I'm being honest, giving to the homeless man or woman on the side of the street is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to giving a gift to the homeless.
I've often been asked, do you give to the homeless? Don't you worry they are going to use the money for drugs or alcohol? Or what if they aren't even homeless and they are pocketing the money and going to a nice home?
I hear the concerns. They are ones I've asked myself over the years. Typically, when I give money to a homeless person, I'm not giving them huge amounts. Maybe a dollar or two. If I'm worried about how someone spends a couple of dollars, I'm probably not giving for the right reasons.
I also think, what if my one dollar, is the difference between a meal and someone going hungry. It's not worth my worry to wonder about the negative things they could do with the money.
With that said, this is your journey and maybe you aren't comfortable with giving money to homeless. Okay, I'm not going to argue with you on the matter. There are other ways to give to those in need. Give a bottle water, a gift card to the local coffee shop, buy them a meal, or continue with the gift from day one and make eye contact with them and smile.You'll be surprised at their reaction. Over my giving journey, the most heartfelt connections I had with strangers was seeing those sitting on the sidewalk, asking for money, and not looking away, but instead, acknowledging them and smiling.
At the end of the day, no matter the beggar on the corner, or your neighbor down the street, we are all created equally and need to be loved.
Day 2 Giving Challenge: The next time you encounter a homeless person, choose to give to them. Want to understand the services available in your community that serve the homeless, check out shelterlisting.org.
Did you know... there are a variety of reasons people in our communities become homeless. Housing affordability, loss of job, decrease income, health issues, domestic violence and racial inequities. If we understand the why, we can work to solve the challenges associated with homelessness.
Chat with your Children: On any given night there are thousands of children that are homeless. With that said, there is a good chance your child will go to school or have a child in their class that is homeless or living in poverty. These children may not be getting a good night's sleep, come to school hungry, they may wear the same clothes day in and day out and may struggle with their behavior and/or grades. We need to ensure our children understand that children in our community don't have the things they have and that life for them is difficult. Chat about ways your child can be kind to these children, and even discuss a way your family can help. Maybe packing an extra snack or helping with school supplies. Whatever the situation, it's not the child's fault and school is their haven, a place for them to be warm and get food.
Bonus Story: Several years ago, I had an encounter on the way to a Tim McGraw concert. The best part of this story was the kindness of others. Check out a A Simple Way to Stay Humbled and Kind.
Stephanie L. Jones