Originally written by Esther Peverley, expert with Moms
As temperatures cool, the population of people experiencing homelessness, which is roughly 550,000 people across the United States alone in 2020, are at a greater risk. One-third of the people experiencing homelessness has no shelter at all, no protection from the elements, and are at risk of suffering hypothermia or freezing to death. It is a harsh reality that we water down for our children, but that doesn't mean they can't do a great deal to help. More importantly, by teaching your children about the dangers that people dealing with housing insecurity face, and teaching them compassion, they are more likely to want to do something about it when they are older.
The fact is, that many dismiss the population of people experiencing homelessness as the outcasts of society that made bad choices in their lives in order to get them to where they are. The truth is, today more than ever, the population of people experiencing homelessness consists of people who hit hard times and gradually lost their jobs, homes, assets, and literally had nowhere to go.
Teach Your Child Compassion
Teach your children compassion, understanding, and give them the tools to help people in need, especially during the winter months when the people experiencing homelessness are at greater risk. Despite the dirty and tattered clothes, the only difference between the average person and a person experiencing homelessness, is support. Teach your child that everyone deserves compassion and help, no matter their social status.
Gifts for People Experiencing Homelessness
If you are fortunate enough to have a little extra money, you can do a lot of good. Take your child to buy scarves, mittens, hats, socks, or anything else you can afford to hand out to people experiencing homelessness or drop off at a shelter in your community. Make it a Christmas tradition to fill stockings with these items, and add a snack, drink, flashlight, even a gift card, to give someone the joy of the holiday season. The dollar store is a great place to find a number of items that can help make someone's night lot more comfortable on the streets.
There are a few ways that you can get your child involved in helping to feed people experiencing homelessness, from volunteering at soup kitchens, to handing out homemade meals. Often, it is not a safe option for a child to go to where the population of people experiencing homelessness live, so a good option is to sign up to volunteer at a soup kitchen to serve meals. This is a great way to show your child that these people are just like everyone else, they are just experiencing food insecurity.
Make it a yearlong endeavor to help the people experiencing homelessness during the holidays. Maybe your child is an entrepreneur who makes bracelets or collects bottles to take to recycle depots. Setting your sights on a year-long campaign to raise money to donate all at once to a local shelter or foodbank is a great way to keep your child engaged in charitable thinking, and it gives them a purpose they can feel proud of.
Originally posted by Moms: https://www.moms.com/teaching-kids-help-experience-homelessness/