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Homeless Bag: Why Should You Give One?

In need.
And ignored...

We ignore homeless people for multiple reasons:

  1. Skeptical that they actually need money and aren't just lazy and jobless.
  2. Assume they will use money for drugs and alcohol.
  3. Fear of it being a trap of robbery or theft, susceptible to danger.
  4. Think they are middle-class citizens "dressing up" as homeless people to take advantage of people's money.

These seem like pretty legit reasons why we shouldn't bother helping those who are "homeless".... 
So why should I tell you otherwise?

Here's why: 

Homelessness typically results from an economic crisis, which could be caused by any number of circumstances: loss of a job, housing-related costs, a relationship ending or family break-up, sudden and/or prolonged illness, substance abuse, severe and persistent mental illness, physical and intellectual disabilities, and many other life-altering situations. 

The CAUSES of homelessness are enough of a reason to help those in need. They have lost almost everything because of their situation, regardless of what that situation is.

Did you know:
  • 1 in 4 homeless individuals is employed full- or part-time.
  • 1 in 4 homeless individuals is a child.
  • The fastest growing homeless group in the United States is families with children.
  • Many homeless people have completed high school; some have attended college and even graduate school.

True... there is a small chance that they might have a part-time job or have completed school, but it doesn't mean they are scammers or not in true need your help. Especially in this economy, people go through many different types of crises that affect their life: whether it's turning to drugs that end up ruining their lives, losing their job and the inability to get another one, losing their homes to disaster or foreclosure, etc....And therefore, being struck with poverty and/or homelessness. 

Even those who are NOT homeless and are doing financial okay need help with personal or family issues, abuse, addictions, and other crises in their lives....

We would help these people in their difficult times, so why should we hesitate to help those who went through similar situations, yet additionally dirty, poor, and homeless? 

Yes, some homeless people may be drug addicts or alcoholics. 
But they are really in need of help, too. 

Helping the homeless doesn't always mean giving them money, 
but care and hospitality. 

Yes, some homeless people may be scammers.
But again, giving to the "homeless" doesn't always require money.
It can be food, clothing, shelter, work, etc.

If they don't want what you have to offer them, 
they are probably scammers.
If they do take your food and hospitality, 
they are probably in need and will take anything you offer them.

"No one has ever become poor by giving." -Helen Keller


Here are ways to tell if a homeless person is a scammer:

Want to give a "Homeless Bag?" 

It doesn't require giving hard cash, but serves as a hospitality bag for those who are in need. 

Keep a few of these in your car so you will be ready to give one next time you comes across a homeless person.

In a large, durable plastic bag, container, or sack (or Ziploc bag)... insert these things:

  • Snacks (granola bars, nuts, crackers, etc.)
  • Water bottle(s)
  • Socks
  • Gloves, scarf, beanie (for fall/winter)
  • Small size package of baby wipes
  • Hand towel
  • Small container/package of bandaids (or put a few in a Ziploc bag)
  • Chapstick
  • Hand warmer packs (for fall/winter)
  • Canned goods with an easy-open tab top (optional)
  • Small lighter/matches (for making fire...but they might also use for smoking)
  • Small to-go package of kleenex
  • Paper and marker (for their signs)
  • Cheap pancho
  • Hygiene products (optional: toothpaste, comb, deodorant, etc)
  • $5 bill (optional)
  • $5 gift card to universal food place (such as McDonalds)
  • Small bible (optional)
  • Small note with encouraging words of love and kindness

Things to AVOID inserting in the bag:
  • Sharp objects (utensils, nail clipper, etc)
  • Drug, tobacco or alcohol products
  • Medications (pain killers, cold medicine, etc.)
  • Pepper spray
  • Liquid drugs (rubbing alcohol, anti burn/itch creams, etc)


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