Start a supply drive
If you are hesitant to volunteer in-person because of COVID, you can still make a difference by starting a supply drive. Reach out to neighbors, family, and friends to collect donations of much needed items. This can include school supplies and backpacks for kids in shelters, or start a PPE drive to support efforts to mitigate COVID-19.
Create move-in kits
When you think of homelessness you might not think of move-in supplies, but the Homeless Trust’s goal is to support those transitioning out of homelessness every step of the way. Eventually, clients move out of shelters or group living situations, and they need help making their new place feel like home. Packing move-in kits with towels, lightbulbs, plates, and other necessities is a great way to help them get started.
Volunteer directly with providers
During the holidays we see a spike in organizations handing out food, blankets and clothing on the street. The issue is that this single contact provides a one-time meal or item without connecting homeless individuals to other services, most notably shelter.
It is more helpful if you partner with providers. They can tell you exactly where supplies are needed most and more importantly, they can connect homeless individuals to shelter, counseling and other forms of support needed to end homelessness. If you still want to serve someone a meal during the holidays, volunteer at a local kitchen or obtain a permit from the city to do it responsibly.
Think outside the box
Think about the unique things you have to offer. Maybe you own a business and are looking for employees. Reach out to providers to offer hiring opportunities for those looking for a job. If you’re an artist, host a virtual art class for kids living at your local shelter. There are infinite ways to make a difference.
Host your own Homeless Awareness event
Educating others is a great way to volunteer! The best way to help the homeless is to become informed about the issues that most affect them. Why not help inform others? Are you a teacher or a student? Consider dedicating a class to learn about homelessness in the community. Do you own a business or are you part of an organization? Teach others how they can volunteer responsibly. To learn more about hosting your own homeless awareness event click here.
Finally, remember that our needs don’t stop on December 25.
The holidays are a popular time to volunteer. Many providers get booked months in advance by people and organizations looking to feed the homeless on Thanksgiving and Christmas. While the good will is always appreciated, the truth is that volunteers are needed year-round. Try reaching out to your local shelter and ask them when they need help.
Thank you for helping us create real change in the lives of those experiencing homelessness.