Sunday, October 10, 2010

World Homeless Day - How To Help

Circa 1930 - Image Source: Archives of Ontario

Today is World Homeless Day, which is "to draw attention to homeless people’s needs locally and provide opportunities for the community to get involved in responding to homelessness, while taking advantage of the stage an ‘international day’ provides." (source)

In that vein, I would like to share this list from Mary McLaughlin, PhD, called "Suggestions for Helping Others." These are simple things you can do to help make a needy person's life better. Without further ado, here you go (I've edited it a bit):
People are often stymied about what they can do to help others. I have posted numerous suggestions on Twitter. All of them are based on true stories of real people needing assistance. Here is an easy-to-read summary:

How to Help: send me a direct message via twitter (@DrMMcLaughlin) or post a comment here with your suggestions for helping others.
How to Help: visit This website lists many options for volunteering your time to help others in need.
How to Help: donate to Person/Family-in-Need anonymously if you (or they) will feel more comfortable
How to Help: purchase a gasoline gift card and give it to someone who is unemployed.
How to Help: donate $5 – $10 grocery store gift cards to a food bank so that recipients can buy fresh food of their choice.
How to Help: purchase $5 gift cards to Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Subway, etc. and give to Person-in-Need.
How to Help: ask a single parent or senior citizen if he/ she needs help installing a summer air conditioner.
How to Help: offer to help someone who has had to move due to the economy to clean or repair the new residence.
How to Help: purchase a gift certificate to a barber shop/ beauty salon and give it to an unemployed person
How to Help: give a gift card for supplies at a hardware/ home-improvement store to a person who had to move
How to Help: give a roll of quarters for use in laundry machines to a person in need.
How to Help: wash/ detail a senior citizen or person-in-need’s vehicle.
How to Help: change oil or pay for oil change in vehicle of Person-in-Need
How to Help: arrange for required vehicle inspection of Person-in-Need and pay for any necessary repairs.
How to Help: give your extra vehicle to a Person-in-Need. Pay for vehicle insurance, registration and tax if you can.
How to Help: have a garage sale and give all proceeds to a person/ family in need.
How to Help: do you have a storage locker? Review contents and add most to your garage sale for person/ family in need.
How to Help: do Person/ Family in need have a cherished pet? Buy pet food and/ or offer to pay veterinary bills.
How to Help: arrange and pay for dental services, cleaning, and/ or replacement teeth for Person-in-Need.
How to Help: pay annual health club membership fees for Person/ Family in Need where showers are available.
How to Help: no person wants to wear used underwear. Give gift card so that he/ she/ they can buy it new.
How to Help: appliance repairs are very expensive. Pay for washer, dryer, water heater, etc. repairs or replacement.
How to Help: give bus, subway or train pass to unemployed Person-in-Need, Senior Citizen or Disabled Person-in-Need.
How to Help: set up and pay for monthly taxi cab account for Person-in-Need who cannot use/ access public transportation.
How to Help: deliver a load of wood to Person/ Family in Need with a wood stove. Help to stack it.
How to Help: give cell phone to homeless/unemployed/other person who needs phone/voice mail. Pay for call minutes.
How to Help: give a sheet of postage stamps to Person/ Family-in-Need.
How to Help: avoid criticizing priorities, choices of Person-in-Need unless Person-in-Need asks for advice or suggestions.
How to Help: do not ask personal or invasive questions. Respect Person-in-Need’s privacy.
How to Help: give a pharmacy gift card to Person/ Family without prescription drug coverage or for prescription drug co-pays.
How to Help: tip all Service Persons as generously as possible.
How to Help: a NYC worker requests half his restaurant meals be pre-packaged as “take-out” to giveto or leave for a hungry person on the street.
How to Help: a NYC worker sometimes buys an extra restaurant meal and leaves it on a bench or on top of a trash can for hungry street person.
How to Help: give gift card to store where unemployed Person-in-Need can buy new shirt or blouse and shoes for interviews.
How to Help: give gift card for new athletic shoes to unemployed/ other Person-in-Need who runs/ walks/ jogs.
How to Help: volunteer to help out at the small business that can no longer afford to employ you.
How to Help: out of school for the summer? Can’t find a job? Helping others will look great on your resume.
How to Help: forgive small/ medium debts family, friends, associates owe to you – do this in writing.
How to Help: improve terms of repayment for those who owe you or your company money – do this in writing.
How to Help: provide basic TV/ Internet service to Person/ Family in Need and pay the monthly bill.
How to Help: provide free storage area to Person/ Family in Need who has had to downsize living space.
How to Help: give toy store gift card to Person/ Family-in-Need to use buying small gifts for children/ grandchildren– it is especially painful not to be able to give small gifts to children you love.
How to Help: help to pay travel expenses so that Person/Family in need can attend out of town/state family wedding/funeral.
How to Help: pay travel expenses for Person/ Family-in-Need to attend family reunion or to visit sick relative. Use your air miles?
How to Help: bring hot, fresh meal to Person/ Family-in-Need. Let them know in advance when meal will arrive.
How to Help: buy bookstore gift card and give to homeless/ other Person-in-Need who has no TV/ Internet service.
How to Help: got a truck? Help Person/ Family-in-Need to move. Or pay for a rental truck to help move.
How to Help: at Person/ Family-in-Need moving or garage sale, pay more than the asking price.
How to Help: pay more than the asking price for boat, motorcycle, camper, other RV’s being sold by Person/ Family-in-Need.
How to Help: notice homes for rent/ sale in your area. Offer to help in any way you can if Person/ Family needs help.
How to Help: help to prepare a house for sale (cleaning, painting, staging, landscaping) for Person/ Family-in-Need.
How to Help: landlords, lower the rent for Person/ Family-in-Need. Let them out of the lease if necessary.
How to Help: provide transportation to/ from AA, NA and other self-help group meetings to a Person-in-Need.
How to Help: purchase movie/ theatre gift card and give to Person/ Family-in-Need.
How to Help: invite unemployed Person/ Family-in-Need to lunch/ dinner at your home or at a restaurant and pay for it.
How to Help: give Person/ Family-in-Need gift card to an ice cream shop.
How to Help: hunger is physically and emotionally painful. Give cash/ grocery gift card directly to Person/ Family-in-Need.
How to Help: If a disadvantaged person refuses your help, don’t criticize. Ask what made your offer unacceptable.
How to Help: do not attempt to impose your preferences, priorities or preferred solutions on Person/ Family-in-Need.
How to Help: disadvantaged people are often angry. In conversations show respect, listen patiently and politely. Don’t argue.
How to Help: veterans, maintain the same loyalty to disabled colleagues that you had while serving together in the military.
How to Help: teach a struggling small business owner how to set up and maintain a web site to promote his/ her business.
How to Help: do not “blame the victim” for not asking for help… people in need are often weary of being put off or ignored.

Hope that gave you some good ideas! If you have any, please share them in the comments.

Related posts:
We Need a New System of Economics

Like what you see? Subscribe here



Byron said...

Good post, May. Glad you're back.

May said...

Thanks Byron :)