Helping Homeless People Survive the Tough Winter Weather
Since Trinity Rescue Mission offers free emergency meals and shelter, we are often full and crowded during the coldest of winter days, which keeps some people away. Also, some people living outside do not live in proximity to the rescue mission and relocating downtown takes them away from work or the safety of the area of town that they know best.
If you see someone living outside, you might be interested in personally doing something to help them. Here are several ideas from our friends at the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions to offer practical help to people trying to survive without shelter during the bitter months of winter.
- Put together “cold kits” with hand warmer packets, lip balm, a few pairs of socks, a knit hat, a scarf, a handkerchief, a few large black garbage bags, and a gift certificate to McDonald’s or other local fast food restaurant that serves hot coffee. Put it all inside a reusable bag.
- Donate blankets to rescue missions or give them directly to those living on the street. While the silver “space blankets” are cheap and portable, many homeless people don’t want to attract attention to themselves, which a reflective silver covering can do.
- Keep information and directions to your local rescue mission, along with some bus passes, in your car or wallet to hand out when you see someone in need of shelter. Remember: Trinity Rescue Mission is ALWAYS free and we often fill up all available spaces in the heart of the winter and summer. However, we take in as many people as we can without violating fire and life safety codes.
- Hand out cups of hot chocolate or coffee to people holding signs on street corners.
- Offer your unneeded coats to folks staying on the street. Or purchase some secondhand coats from local thrift stores for them.
- Of course, if you encounter someone who is in a health crisis, immediate danger or who has a child living homeless, call 9-1-1.
If you do decide to personally bless someone living outside, be safe. Never go alone or outside of a publically visible area that you feel is safe. Also, do your ministering in daylight and always take your phone. This caution is not meant to scare you, have fun and bless others, just be aware of your surroundings.
If you have any questions, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to help you!
Stay warm out there!—Rick