What you Can Do
Acknowledge & Engage
Homelessness brings a sense of loneliness that erodes the core of a person’s sense of self-value. When you are homeless a simple smile and a word of kindness can make a big difference in a day full of hardship.
Be sure to acknowledge the homeless you encounter in the street or subway. Say a simple hello. Talk to them and engage in a simple conversation. When you take your time to learn about your homeless neighbor, you show them that you care!
Above all, avoid stereotyping or stigmatizing the homeless. There are many paths that lead to homelessness, and each person has a different story.
Be Ready to Help Today
Sometimes the homeless just need help to get through the day. In general, it is better to not give cash away. So what if you want to help today? You can provide practical and immediate help:
- Carry gift cards from local fast food or grocery store chains in your wallet. This way you will be helping your homeless neighbor to get something to eat, as well as the opportunity to get out of the street and rest inside a store or restaurant.
- Also, granola bars are easy to keep in your pockets or bag, and provide nutrition and energy.
- Besides food a small bottle of water helps prevent dehydration, a common health concern in the homeless community.
Help During Any Season
Winter seasons feel extra-long when you are living on the streets or sleeping in a subway car. There is a big risk of hypothermia just from staying outside for such long periods of time. You can provide protection from the cold weather without having to spend any additional money! Here is how:
- Check your closet for simple winter gear that you are not using anymore (or that you do not use often): a pair of winter gloves, a scarf in a color you don’t like anymore, a knit hat that you got for free at a game or event. Instead of keeping these in your closet, carry one at a time and give it away to someone you see living on the streets.
- And how about those winter boots you haven’t worn in 2 years? Dust them off and give them to the homeless person you pass on your commute every day.
Summertime is no different!
- A clean t-shirt does a lot for someone’s spirits when you are outside in the sweltering heat. Being able to change to clean, fresh clothes helps to lighten your day.
- If you travel often, next time you stay in a hotel remember to grab the complimentary hand lotion and keep it your pocket or bag. This lotion can help more than you think! Spending all day in the harsh weather can severely damage and dry out skin.
To Keep in Mind
Always offer help first, rather than giving something someone may not actually want or need. Many of your neighbors in need will be grateful for your offer of food or water. But you may also encounter someone who is having a really rough time and may be unable to appreciate your help.
Donate Material Items
Basic needs for homeless in the Inland Empire are met through your donations of food, clothing, furniture or household items. You may drop off in-kind donation items (clothing, household items, etc.) at our Foundation Donation Event on May 25 from 8am to 10am at Secombe Lake Park, 160 W. 5th Street, San Bernardino, CA 92415 or call (951) 545-4477. Your donations help us support people in need in the Inland Empire.
Donations make it possible for us to help more people. Whether you can give $5.00 a week or $25.00 to $50.00 a month or more, every gift helps. However you are led to donate, please know that we are very grateful for your donations that help us to reach out to someone in need.
Share the Message
Everyone knows someone that can make a difference. Sponsor our foundation by hiring people that need a “hand up, not a hand out”. We focus on those that want a hand up, those who can and want to change their lives.