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Wednesday, December 16, 2015
CHRISTMAS PRESENTS FOR THE STREET HOMELESS? - THINGS WE REALLY NEED - and SOME ADVICE FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO GIVE
WHAT's IN THE BOXES? and LOTTO TICKETS!
Here are some things that street homeless can really use:
GIFT CARDS from close by stores such as Target, Trader Joe's, etc. (Food and Essentials)
New Clean Socks. (Don't buy white tube socks that don't fit in everyone's shoes and show dirt right away.)
New Clean Underwear (Rarely available at clothing giveaways.)
New Shoes - FLATS - rarely does a street homeless person find walking in high heels possible.
We think you should give to a shelter or organization for them to distribute and call them ahead, don't just show up at the gates of the shelter with a hundred peanut butter sandwiches.
Consider that a homeless person cannot carry too heavy a load.
We're sometimes asked where people who want to give can go to give the sandwiches or scarves they've made, and the thing is, YOU CAN GO ANYWHERE THAT YOU SEE A HOMELESS PERSON, go up to them, and hand them whatever it is, but it's possible you could run into some trouble for doing it, because we've seen it. Someone who delivers food to the homeless at a bus stop every morning harassed. Even churches who set up to give away bagged lunches have been harassed. See if you go up to a single person and hand them a bag of clothes or half your lunch that's a personal interaction. If you intend to reach many people in one place at one time, that's a giveaway.
We've heard many stories of police preventing or harassing people who want to give because they see homeless "gatherings" as threatening. Police often run checks against license plates or ask people for their ID's and run checks on them, sometimes finding an outstanding warrant. So our advice is, CALL A LOCAL SHELTER or other organization that deals with the homeless and ASK THEM if you can help out at a meal, bring sandwiches, or if they will distribute for you.
The local people should be able to give you some advice on where and when it's best to give.
We've seen it that sometimes there are some homeless people hanging out in the park and a pizza delivery truck shows up and tells them that someone ordered them pizza. But we know that this is left over pizza that the driver is handling out rather than take it back to the bakery and dump it.
Though most homeless people are not violent or mentally ill, some are. There is always a possibility that you might encounter such people and not know how to handle it. But when a group goes out to give you're safer. Another issue is that in some places far more food from movie sets, restaurants, and so on would be given away but health laws prevent it.
Joanne has reminded us that little portable umbrellas may be helpful and appreciated.