How can you help a hungry, homeless man or woman? Should you give money to a panhandler? Here’s a few tips for how you can best help someone in need.
Many people struggling in homelessness begin to feel invisible and discarded. Even if you don’t have time to stop, it can help to look them in the eye, smile and say, “Hello”.
Homelessness can be a lonely and frightening experience. Just taking time to talk and listen can be such an encouragement.
You might ask, “What’s your greatest need right now?” Then consider how you can help meet that need. Buying them a meal, clothing or a blanket is usually better than simply giving cash.
Keep care kits in your vehicle so you’re prepared. See the list on this page for items to include in your care kit. Assembling care kits is a great activity for children, youth groups, Sunday school classes, small groups, families, clubs or teams to do together.
Point them to Capital City Rescue Mission where they can get even more help. Hand them a “Hope Card” with information about free meals, safe shelter, clothing and recovery programs. Let them know you regularly support the Mission so that their needs can be met by friendly people who care. Download Hope Cards (PDF).
Ask if you can pray for them and take a moment to do so if they are willing.
The majority of homeless men and women are not dangerous — they’re people just like you. But it’s smart to go out as a group and be discerning when reaching out to people on the street.
If you know someone who is homeless and you are looking for ways to help them, feel free to contact us for advice.
A typical Care Kit consists of a watertight gallon-size zipper lock plastic bag filled with items like: