There are many different ways to become involved. Financial support is actually the least important component. We’re not all called to do the same thing, but each one of us has a purpose. Synergy is a powerful thing. The power of all of us together truly does exceed the sum of the individual parts.
We tell our volunteers that the most important thing you can do is to show up. You don’t need a special talent. You just have to be there, both in body and spirit.
Also, we teach our volunteers the importance of looking someone in the eye when they speak to us. The homeless are discounted in any number of heartbreaking ways, but the most insulting one we can think of is when a person turns their head. Looking someone in the eye validates them, makes them real for 5 minutes in a world that repeatedly tells them they are worthless because they don’t have the right clothes or toys.
Volunteering will bring you rewards you never expected and open your eyes to things you’ll never be able to ignore again. The children don’t expect us to take them to Disneyland or entertain them with clowns. The adults don’t expect to have all their problems solved.
They just want us to show up and remember their names. They want someone to listen when they talk. That’s pretty simple, isn’t it? And, it costs us nothing.
Organize a Drive
Every day we all take so many things for granted, food, hygiene items, school supplies, diapers, etc. If we need something, we just reach in the refrigerator or cabinet to grab it, without a second thought.
This is not the norm for homeless children and their families. Motel rent takes up most of the parent’s minimum wage check. There isn’t a lot left over for necessities.
By organizing a drive you’re helping make sure a child doesn’t go to bed hungry, their parents can do their best at work with a full stomach (because they will go to bed hungry and to work without eating, as long as their children are fed), helping a family keep their clothes and bodies clean so no one is shamed, or, helping keep a motel room sanitary with household cleaning items.
Start your own Ministry
This probably sounds scary and like way too much of a commitment, but it’s easier than you think. You don’t have to have a 5 year master plan in place to start. You don’t have to have a warehouse. You don’t need a building at all. Your garage or spare bedroom will do just fine for a start.
You don’t have to spend 10 hours a day, 7 days a week serving the homeless. If you have a church group, work group or even just one friend who is interested, you can start by taking a couple of boxes of canned goods from the 99 Cent Store to the local motel in your neighborhood on a Saturday afternoon.
The rewards you receive will far outweigh any cost you may incur. Go with an open mind and heart and you’ll meet some pretty amazing people.