There are many ways to help children and families who are homeless. You can do some things by yourself or you can do this as a team with your friends, classmates, school, etc. Listed below are suggestions for how you can help people who are homeless.
Volunteer with or adopt your local Bright Space: If you are interested in volunteering to spend time with the children and families at your local Bright Space, or if you’d like to adopt the Bright Space and help with things like collecting art supplies, holiday gifts, etc., please contact Julie Kelly at email@example.com.
Collect Toys and Games for Donations: Give gently used toys that you do not use anymore or new toys to a place that could use them. Get your friends to do the same. Bring them to a shelter or community organization, and play with the toys with the other children.
Hold Supply Drives: Food, clothing and coats (new or gently used), toiletries and diapers, toys and games, books and school supplies, kitchen utensils, and furniture are often in high demand. The lack of clean, well-fitting clothes and shoes causes great hardship beyond exposure to the elements; it hurts one’s self-image and one’s chance to get ahead. Before you start a drive, talk to your local shelter: find out what items they really need. Most have limited storage space and need certain goods at certain times. Please clean all clothing and supplies before you donate them.
Donate Admission Fees from Events: When you have dances, sporting events, or plays, ask if the money raised from admissions can be donated to an organization that helps people who are homeless. Or, instead of charging money, have people bring canned food or supplies as a donation.
Have a Fundraiser: Donate money raised at a garage sale, car wash, talent show, or pancake breakfast to a homeless shelter or service provider. Organize a bike or walk-a-thon and donate the proceeds. Sponsor a benefit concert featuring local musicians (and include homeless musicians on the program). Make and sell crafts (include homeless persons’ crafts as well).
Create a Library for a Shelter or Homeless Service Provider: Hold a book drive for new or used books. Find a spot in a shelter where the books can be kept.
Support a Homeless Person or Family: As they move out of a shelter or transitional housing program, assist by contributing household goods, babysitting, and moral support. Create “Good Luck Baskets” with needed supplies for a new home.
Volunteer at a Shelter: Prepare or serve food, wash dishes, sort or distribute clothes. Help with clerical work: answer phones, type, file, sort mail, sign people in. Volunteer after school or on weekends.
Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen: Pick-up, prepare, and serve food. Help with set-up and cleanup of meals.
Volunteer at a Food Bank: Collect and distribute food to those in need. Help with inventory.
Tutor/Read to Homeless Children: It is often difficult for children who are homeless to study in shelters. Help homeless children by reading to them or with them. Help answer their questions with homework.
Host a Holiday Party for Children at a Shelter: Many parents who are homeless are not able to buy holiday gifts for their children. Decorate, and bring treats or gifts to children at a shelter for different holidays. Buying gift cards from a local store, such as Target and Walmart, is a respectful and empowering way to allow parents to buy gifts for their own children.
Help Build or Fix Up Houses or Shelters: Many places could use help with renovation, landscaping and cleaning. Check with your local public housing authority or Habitat for Humanity.
To find volunteer opportunities to do as a family in your area, click here.