Matthew 25: 32-45
And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
What I'm doing and why
How you can help
Useful links to help you help others
What I'm doing and Why
Have you ever felt the need to give to a homeless person you've seen out on a street corner? Did you NOT give out of fear, being in a hurry or concern that they would use it for drugs, alcohol or tobacco? Well, I've been there too. But I've also been in a place where there was SO much guilt for NOT giving from the abundance God has blessed me with to those less fortunate.
Case in point. The other day I picked my daughter up from the airport. We had decided to splurge and go to one of our favorite restaurants to celebrate her safe return. We passed a homeless man at a stoplight and I gave him a dollar. We then proceeded to the restaurant where we spent about $45 total including tip on our meal. My question is "Do you see what's wrong with this picture?" Lord knows it was good, but Lord also knows it was an excess and a waste on just 2 people.
Granted I may have just been feeling guilty at spending so much on a meal when $45 would have fed us for a week at the grocery store. But I went through such guilt that I had just blown $45 on one meal and yet only saw fit to give this homeless man one measly dollar! Wouldn't God have rather had us celebrate 'our' blessing by helping him bless others who worry and struggle for their survival, safety and food on a daily basis? I suddenly felt very undeserving of my abundance and my blessings of a home, food, family, etc.
As most people I worry about giving cash to most organized charities for fear of where the money actually ends up. Also, as most people, I worry about giving large amounts to the actual hand of a homeless person for fear that a habit will see this money instead of their belly. But these are no excuse, they're just feeble attempts to justify my lack of charity. That too is something most people do, come up with justifications on why it's okay NOT to give. But, there had to be a way around all this.
Then voila! I came up with a solution...a Care Bag. I could put together some needed items and foods to make sure my gift would be something truly needed. I could even put a Bible in the bag since I had found a Dollar Tree where one could buy Bibles for $1. Perfect! I could leave them in my car and the next time I would be prepared to truly help with a clear conscious that my gift was substantial but yet not misused.
Then I thought, why not go further? Share this idea with others since homelessness is a world wide cause! Not only could I make these Care Bags but I could put something on my website that might inspire others and start a chain reaction. So in the next section of this you'll find suggestions on what you can do in your town.
I also struggled with the idea to offer to take donations and let this grow into a life's mission. But I got scared. I'm afraid I couldn't handle keeping up with what went where and all the legalities and paperwork. I'm on disability myself for a social disorder, panic attacks and the like. I pray I'm not copping out on a work God set before me by just putting out suggestions in stead of taking donations and doing the work myself.
Anyway, join me in caring for these lost souls with no hope. These that are at the bottom of the charity totem pole. Whatever their reasons, whatever their lifestyles...they are in need. As a Christian and a human being we should care for those less fortunate than ourselves. So, whether you make the Care Bags, give to others personally or give to your local homeless shelter...just please join me in giving. If all of us would give of our own blessings to others as a habit every month, not an occasional thing, the world would be such a better place. Give, in the Name of our Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, who showed us first hand how to be of service to others. Whatever...Just give! Somewhere somehow...give.
May God Bless You
How you can help others
These are items accepted as gifts by local charities or that you can use to make your own Care Bags. Remember you want stuff that won't spoil if you're making Care Bags to leave in your car or leave with a homeless shelter. If your giving to chairites you should check to see if they will take perishables.
Bible and/or Religious tracts
Pop-top canned items such as beanie weenies, vienna's, tuna, potted meat, etc. (Remember they may not have a can opener)
Saltine Cracker packs
Cheese Crackers or the like
Plastic forks and spoons
Juice boxes and/or Bottled water
Soap and wash clothe, maybe even a hand towel
Toothpaste and a toothbrush
Mittens, scarves, toboggans, afghan's, ponchos, sweaters, coats, socks, thermal underwear, rain ponchos or coats, (if you can crochet or knit these items can be made extremely cheap)
Blankets and sheets for shelters
A book bag or the like they can use to store and easily carry their stuff ( if you can sew you can make simple tote bags for the Care Bags that they can use for other things later)
Box of kleenex or hankies.
Gift certificate from a Fast Food Restaurant for a hot meal
Gift certificate from a Wal-Mart or K-Mart for personal items such as underwear or shoes
For local charities they take your old clothes, shoes, etc and even some household items that they might be able to use in their kitchens, bath areas, bed areas, etc.
If you 'really' want to be giving or your rich enough...Give a Gift certificate from an area motel for a warm nights stay and a bath. This would be an especially nice gift in towns that don't have enough shelters to house all the homeless during freezing tempratures. (First check with management to make sure they will except without ID etc. since some places may not be as giving when a homeless person shows up to redeem the thing.)
Another Really Great Tip: IF you don't have time to make bags and don't feel comfortable in giving cash...You could get some gift certificates from some of the suggestions above and easily put them on your cars visor. Then, when you see a homeless person on the sidewalk or at a stoplight just grab one and give it to them. They're quick, easy and effective for the cause!
Of course please remember, there's always you local homeless shelters you can drop items off to. Also there are your local churches who've taken on the cause and then there's the national charities (a few links provided below) who help others in need as well.
If anyone has any more ideas PLEASE feel free to email them to me and I'll add them to this site.
Useful links to help you help others
Why do Americans have such a negative attitude toward the homeless? ( A students response. A short research paper that hits home on our inner reservations when giving to these lost souls.)
The Red Cross
The Salvation Army
The United Way
End Homlessness Now More links and ways to help online.
Note: I have no way of knowing how money is spent by the above links or your gifts used. I guess what I'm saying is I don't back any of the above. I just put them on here to get you started if you would rather give cash or your gifts to a national charity. Any time you give you should always check the place out to make sure the needy are the ones getting the majority of the gifts.