Sometimes for our weekly service challenges, I post things that I love doing and that are in my comfort zone. Thanking firemen … hiding quarters around town … these are things that come very naturally to me.
Other things are a bit more of a stretch. And sometimes, it’s good to stretch.
So this week, I’m reaching outside my comfort zone. I’m facing a problem that sometimes seems too big to face, and I’m inviting you to join me.
This week, we’re helping the homeless.
Does this seem a little intimidating to you? Like this is a problem that’s so big, you don’t even know where to start? I understand! But it really doesn’t need to be. Luckily for us, we don’t necessarily need to go out on the streets to find those who need our help. (Although if that’s your thing, awesome!!) Helping the homeless can begin with a simple phone call.
1. Start with your local shelter. If you’re not sure what the needs are in your area, this is a great time to learn! First, locate your closest homeless shelter. (Just do an internet search for “homeless shelter” and your zipcode.) Then give them a call! They’ll be more than happy to give you ideas. Perhaps they need donations, maybe they need volunteers for one of their programs. They’ll definitely be able to give you suggestions to help meet the most pressing needs in your community.
2. Choose a specific need. Homelessness can be an overwhelming issue, so if this is new to you, start by choosing one specific goal that you’d like to help meet. This might mean making blessing bags. It might mean handing out cold water bottles on a hot day. It might mean passing out snacks or gift cards to fast food restaurants. What tugs at your heart? Start there!
3. Advocate. Even if you don’t feel like you have enough resources to be able to make a difference, reach out! This can be as simple as sharing the wish list of your local shelter on Facebook, or as involved as hosting a service party. I LOVED my baby shower for charity, and I’ve had several fun blessing bag parties. Many people are willing to help – you just need to give them the opportunity!
4. Donate. If you have limited time, but you have a few dollars to donate, you can absolutely make a difference today! Again, I’d recommend starting locally and donating to a shelter near your home. But if you’d like a suggestion, I love this cause that I just learned about yesterday. This is a company founded by a veteran. They employ veterans. And they make a high-quality soap that will be donated to those in need in San Francisco. (Remember Lava Mae? I love, love, LOVE what they do. That’s where their soaps are going!) Your donation provides jobs, and it provides dignity. You can check out Maxwell’s Soaps’ fundraising effort here.
Those are my ideas. How are you going to participate in this week’s challenge? As for me, I’ll be making a blessing bag (I’ve given all of mine out – woohoo!), and I’ll make a small donation to Maxwell’s Soaps. I love their vision!