I’ve said it repeatedly that there are a lot of reasons that people are living homeless. We are supposed to show compassion to each other, regardless of circumstances, without judgement, without criticism. What would a wish list for someone who is displaced be? Respect, just like you would have for anyone. Something more concrete? What things do they need? If you could support a homeless shelter, these are some of the things that they are in constant need of: Clean used clothes, in particular hoodies and tote bags or back packs. Including underwear and socks. Toothpaste, toothbrushes,combs, mouthwash, soap, wash cloths, baby wipes, travel size lotion, powder. Shampoo. Deodorant. Razors. Lots of razors. Bug repellent….mosquitoes can be pretty bad in warmer and hotter weather. West Nile Virus is still around, and having bug repellent is a blessing. Blankets, pillows, sleeping bags. Jackets. Rain coats. Good used shoes. Ziplock baggies. Belts. Big handkerchiefs that you can wear on your head to keep your hair covered….bandana style scarves.
If you are providing food, it really doesn’t matter if breakfast food is served at breakfast time. If it’s the only meal of the day, they are thankful for the meal. They need fruit. And fiber. They lack vitamins, especially if they are alcoholic. Ice can be put in a small ice chest to keep food for a day. Make sure if you can that the meal is balanced and not just a lot of carbohydrates that will burn off in about and hour. Protein and fiber is necessary.
Jesus said “For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:35-40. What you do to others, you do to Jesus. He watches us, walks with us. God knows our hearts and what we do to each other.
There is a Christian Student Group at the University of Kentucky. Every Friday, they hold a pancake meal at midnight for the drunks….and those drunks are usually college kids, from what I understand. The hope is to save those kids from themselves. When the meal is over, they take the leftovers to a homeless shelter,. Their hearts are in the right place, trying to minister to the least of us. And who are we to judge those drunk college kids or the drunk homeless people who might wander in. Does it matter? No. What matters is giving a bit of self esteem to someone who isn’t really in the best state of mind, the least of us. And that is being Christian.