The holidays wouldn’t be the holidays without family and the love, care and support they offer. Everyone has a family who loves and takes care of them, right?
For many homeless individuals, that’s not the case. Many don’t have family or friends who can love and support them. They rely on donations and shelters to help them through the hard winter months.
With so much need, it can be hard to understand exactly what students can do to help the homeless in Ogden. Here are a few ideas.
Give your time and talents
Many college students don’t have too much in the way of extra cash, so spending a little time with the homeless is a great way to be able to help. Children in poverty often struggle with homework because lack of sleep and proper nutrition make it hard to pay attention. Taking 20 minutes or a half hour to help a student with their homework can mean a lot to that child and to their education.
Children and adults alike who struggle with poverty and homelessness also need the support a friend can provide them with. You don’t need to be their best friend or give them lots of money and things, but taking the time to talk with them and to listen to their problems can help them know that they are important.
Students with special talents can also contact homeless shelters and offer their services. For example, each year a group of students involved in the Weber State University Chamber Choir spends an evening singing during dinner at St. Anne’s Homeless Shelter.
I know I can’t imagine going more than a day or two without a shower. Many homeless individuals go weeks, even months between showers. Toiletries like toothbrushes and toothpaste, deodorants, feminine hygiene products and adhesive bandages are vital to helping homeless individuals stay comfortable. While staying clean helps avoid unpleasant odors, it also helps prevent and ease the effects of illness and disease.
Donating toiletries is a wonderful way for busy students to be able to help no matter what time of year or financial means. Personal hygiene kits can be put together for less than $15, making them affordable for students to be able to help the homeless.
In my opinion, one of the most uncomfortable sensations is being cold. When the temperature drops even slightly I am digging out my sweaters, coats and mittens to stay as warm and dry as possible.
For those living on the streets, getting in out of the cold isn’t really an option, so warm clothes like boots, coats and gloves are vital for the homeless. Anything and everything, whether used or new, students are willing to donate can help a homeless individual stay warm during the cold winter.
In particular, warm blankets and coats can greatly help homeless individuals stay warm during the winter. While sparkly silver, alien-looking emergency blankets that can be bought in the camping section of many grocery stores keep homeless individuals warm, the reflective material can also make them a target for criminals and teenagers looking to cause trouble. Army-surplus blankets are a little more bulky, and the lack of colors makes the homeless less conspicuous and less of a target to bullies.