5 Ways You Can Help The Homeless This Winter
As temperatures plummet all over the country, the homeless community will naturally be finding it particularly tough. With rough sleeping in England increasing by 55% over the last six years, homeless shelters simply don’t have enough beds, and many people are forced to sleep on the streets in sub-zero temperatures.
It can be easy to overlook the homeless when you’re shopping for gifts or gearing up for the festive season with friends and family – but helping those less fortunate can be a fantastic way for you to ‘give back’ over the Christmas period. Check out these great ways you can help the homeless this winter:
Donate old clothes to a charity
Homeless charities are crying out for warm clothes, especially at this time of year. If you need to make space in your wardrobe, why not donate the jumpers, cardigans and coats you haven’t worn for years? There are charities all over the country which will accept these items and help distribute them to the local homeless community – some food banks even accept garments which they can hand out to those who come to claim food.
If you have a few hours spare at the weekend, why not spend it volunteering? Charities all over the country will welcome your enthusiasm and assistance. Whether you’re washing the dishes in a soup kitchen or helping allocate beds at a homeless shelter, you’ll be playing a vital role in helping out those much less fortunate.
Give to a food bank
The number of people using food banks has skyrocketed in recent years, and Christmas is one of the busiest times of year for these establishments. Giving to a food bank is a wonderful way to spread some goodwill during the festive season – you could even take part in a challenge like the one launched by Worcester Foodbank. Their Reverse Advent Calendar appeal encourages donors to put away an item of food or an everyday essential each day in the run-up to Christmas. Suggested items include washing powder, bags for life, tinned potatoes, long-life milk and packets of cooked rice.
Sign a petition
Perhaps your festive schedule is incredibly busy, and you don’t have time to volunteer your time. You can still help out by signing a petition to help the homeless – it’ll only take two minutes of your time, and it’s a great way to voice your support. Visit the petitions section of the UK Government website and you’ll find plenty which you sign online. Any petitions which reach 10,000 signatures will receive some kind of response from the government.
Offer a friendly face
If you can’t afford to donate and have no time to volunteer, even something as simple as stopping to chat to a homeless person can help boost their spirits. Many homeless people say the loneliness they feel on the streets is crippling, and knowing there are people out there who care can make their day. A smile or a kind word is all it takes!