(And Make A Real Difference)
By: Esther Kay
December, 6th, 2021
Christmas is such a magical time isn’t it?
I’m always so amazed as the days draw closer to December 25th just how different the world seems!
Yet, while visions of sugar plums dance in sweet children’s heads, there are some people just happy to know where their next meal is coming from.
For people experiencing homelessness the holidays can be some of the bleakest days of the year, a reminder of loss, of trauma and of everything they don’t have.
While none of us can save the world, I believe most of us could do more to lift the spirits of our neighbors—if even for just a moment.
It’s so simple to make another person’s day just a little bit better—-yet so many people I’ve spoken to about it have become instantly uncomfortable with the topic.
It’s this avoidance reaction that has led me to seek out those who are uncomfortable and try to discern the reason.
When asked, most people will deny even being uncomfortable and will simply blame timing, stating they would “love to”, but they “just don’t have time.”
Others will blame the people experiencing homelessness themselves, saying things like “if they would just get a job”, or “they are just lazy—why should I do for them what they aren’t willing to do for themselves?”.
Whatever the excuse given, when drilled down to the brass tacks—-most people are uncomfortable with the subject because they feel overwhelmed by the issue of homelessness and don’t know where to start, or how to help appropriately.
It’s my hope that by the end of this post you will feel confident that you CAN make a difference in a healthy way, how to do it where to go to begin.
Let’s get started!
Ok, I know —you’re eye-rolling right now aren’t you?
Hear me out…
There are SO MANY ways to volunteer! Most people already know they can volunteer to serve food, or hand out blankets, but did you know you can volunteer at a shelter as a receptionist? What about volunteering to help with a game night for the families with kids? Did you know you can volunteer using your professional skills like a mechanic teaching basic vehicle maintenance, how to change a tire, showing single moms how to check and change their fluids? The possibilities are endless, but here’s a tip: Find something you’re passionate about—and if you have a skill in that area even better!—-and share it. It really can be just that simple.
Of course… The dreaded wallet call…
But seriously——it doesn’t have to be a burden!
Giving should be a joyful experience, not just for the person receiving the gift, but for the giver as well!
There are so many levels of giving financially——it doesn’t have to break your proverbial (or actual) bank!
Maybe you (like me and—well—most people)are already feeling the pinch financially around the holidays, BUT you have plenty of clothes you, your kids, your husband, your neighbor, your sister, or your friend have outgrown—-take them to a shelter ! Make room in that closet for the new stuff, which is sure to be heading your way Christmas morning and, in turn make someone else’s Christmas fabulous too!
3. Lend a listening ear
Did you know one of the leading responses from people experiencing homelessness to the question “how can someone help?” Is to just be willing to sit down and have someone listen to their story?
Everyone needs to feel heard, seen and understood. By being willing to share in someone’s story, it can help that person feel validated and begin to work through the different barriers holding them back from success. It’s not about having answers, or even fully understanding their perspective—-its about simply BEING there for someone.
It really can be just that simple!
4. Spread the word!
It’s the old marketing thought process “you tell two friends, then they tell two friends” and so on and so forth…
But it works! If everyone talked about the hard things like homelessness with the people they share life with, understanding would spread, awareness would grow and positive change would occur much sooner!
You are more influential than you realize! Some of the most profound ideas, truths and world changing movements have happened in someone’s kitchen, in someone’s living room, or backyard.
Simply sharing this post would help do that!
5. Include your family
Most of us want our children to be kind, compassionate and understanding of the human condition.
What better way to instill those values than by modeling them for our kids!
If we allow the “someone else will do it” mentality to rule our own decisions, we will be modeling that for the next generation. While most of us don’t have the time to volunteer weekly, or even monthly, most of us have the time to volunteer once, or twice a year for an hour, or two. Instead of allowing the thought of getting involved to become overwhelming, try to look at it for what it is: and opportunity to create an experience with your kids that will change their perspective on what it means to be human. That my friends—-is priceless…
I hope after reading this you will feel much more confident in your ability to create a positive holiday experience for yourself, your family and especially people experiencing homelessness.
Now take that confidence and change the world!
For more ways to help, visit : www.camphopeyakima.com