Thanksgiving is now less than 48 hours away, but it doesn't change the simple fact that as we're out shopping for our turkey with our kids in tow there are still many people in our city facing homelessness this holiday season. If your child is young enough, this probably doesn't faze them until they see you ignore someone who needs your help or watch someone staring at another person trying to help by giving one of these folks a warm jacket or a kind word. Instead, you should teach your kids to give thanks for their home this Thanksgiving.
How can we do this?
SeeUnfortunately, homelessness is a part of life in Philadelphia. Regardless where you go, you see it. You can't live in a bubble isn’t an option. You don't want to make these folks feel unwelcome, they're human too. Feel free to say "Hello," make small talk, and smile. They don't always want money or food. They also want you to remember they're human.
FeelRemembering they're human is a common thread here because it's so important.While you may not want to give them money and you don't have food to share right then, you can still be empathetic. Don't make fun of them. Show your kids it's OK to feel heartbroken for another person. When you talk to your kids, try saying something like, "I think it's sad they don't have somewhere to live." Of course, honesty is important here.
The most important thing you can do is to take action. While you may not feel comfortable telling kids why you won't give them money, simply tell them something simple like, “I don’t give money to people on the street, but I give money to programs that will help them.” Then help them take action. With this in mind, here are a few ways you can help us spread your love this holiday season:
- Donate a blanket, socks, gloves, hat, or winter jacket. It doesn't have to be brand new, it just needs to be usable.
- Create or send blank Christmas cards for us to hand out this season.
- Collect toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs, and shampoo for us to create gift bags with the Christmas cards in them to hand out.
- Share this blog post to help others understand how they too can help us.
How will you help the homeless this holiday season? Share your ideas with us here. We're always looking for more ways to make the homeless feel merry and bright this season.