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Tue Dec 25, 2012, 04:13 PM

Some things that you may not think about when giving to the homeless. [View all]

Last edited Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:21 PM - Edit history (4)

As many know, I was on the streets for roughly a year and a half. And it is rough out there. One needs to eat, to have a way to wash, a place to sleep. But there are some things people may not think of when they are wanting to help. I have been asked by others what else could help. So I thought to make this little list up, that way it will give you an idea what else can be donated that you may not think about.

Something that is a necessity is a good size pack. When you are out there, it is your home. It is something that is in short supply as well. So if you have a school pack that is the kind a high schooler would carry and no longer using it, please donate it. Even a rolling suitcase is useful. Rolling backpacks are a dream come true! And if you have a messenger bag that you donít use, please donate it, that is great for carrying paperwork in. Believe me, when you are homeless, you have a lot of paperwork you need to try (the big word) and keep with you.

Another thing is dark color blankets. They are used all year long. The dark color works as camouflage at night while one sleeps. So, light or heavy in weight, if they are dark the homeless need it! If you have a dark sleeping bag you donít want anymore, it would be great to. The street is not very soft.

Eye glasses. So many could use reading glass. Prescription glass as well. Many places have an eye glass drop off to help people that cannot afford them. Sun glasses, all year around need. One must protect from the sun and from the wind. So if you see some cheap reading glasses at one of those $1 shops, pick a couple up to donate to your local shelter to give out, the sunglasses too! You would not believe how much they are needed!

Pens and paper. I know that sounds odd. But when you are trying to find work or take down information to remember later, you need to have something to write on and with. Folders with pockets are great to. You will not believe how much paperwork is involved when you are in poverty and worse. Sometimes it feels like a full time office job just to get help.

Besides the usual cloths like jeans (jeans are a major thing for women and men) everyday shoes, and t-shirt (sweat shirt and coats in winter), the homeless also need cloths for getting work. Believe it or not there are people out there that are in need of black or khaki slacks, dress shoes, blouses/ white dress shirts, and everything else one need to dress for work are a must have to get a job. The dress codes for department stores, call centers, etc. are what is needed on top of the usual needed cloths. Oh, and underwear! For both sexes (bras are an extreme luxury for a homeless woman and you canít look nice without one). You would not believe how little underwear can be found at the places that help with giving out cloths to the homeless.

Wallets, glasses cases and phone cases is something that are very useful. The government phones do not come with holders and that makes it hard to take care of. Those phones are your only way to reach help in an emergency and get contacted for a possible job. The phone holder, glasses case and wallets make it easier to keep your ID, food cards (many food banks that help with homeless food packs use an ID card and you also need to keep your food stamp card safe) and many other needed cards in and safe. And the glasses case to keep oneís glasses safe. If you have any that you donít use anymore, please donate them. They will not go unwanted!

Another thing is Maxis and Tampons. Yes, the women need them. But did you know that the guys will carry Maxisí as part of a makeshift first aid kit? Things to treat wounds are big. So is hygiene in general. Toilet paper is street currency. Someone has extra can of spaghetti that is worth one roll of TP.

Something else that is also worth its weight in gold are water bottles. The kind that you can fill in a park bathroom or drinking fountain. Having water is something that is very important, there had been many a death due to not having water to drink out there. I remember seeing many homeless get taken away in an ambulance due to being dehydrated. Eating utensils are a nice thought too! Spoon fork and knife is something that are so nice to have. And a can opener! Oh, I had been given cans of food but had no way to open it.

The last thing many donít think of is pet food and leashes. Thatís right, pet food and leashes. Many homeless have dogs, some even have cats. They are, for many, what is left of their family. The animals watch them and they watch out for the dog or cat. It is such an attachment that those that do have pets will not go to shelters due to the no pets allowed rule at many. It is that important, the pet is their family, what is left of love. I have seen the attachment so strong that if something happens to that pet, the owner will not be long for this world. The food to proper feed them and the leashes to keep legal. Another big thing that has started to happen is groups that are making sure that the homeless pets get shots and licenses. They ever try to help get then spaded or neutered. If you have a group in your area helping with this a donation to buy the shots are welcome in a big way!

For those that are looking for something to do, I hope that it gives you some ideas. To those that are reading this and remembers that you have some of this stuff and you arenít using them, please donate!


Add on: Socks, Rain gear, Foot powder, batteries, sowing kit, flash lights and Walkman type radios.

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