How to help the homeless this Christmas from volunteering to donating warm clothes

So how can you help the homeless this Christmas? Here's what we would recommend.

 

Donate old clothes, especially coats

In many towns there are coat exchanges or rails outside charity shops for homeless people to help themselves.

At such a cold time of year its essential for rough sleepers to have as much protection and warmth as possible so donating coats and sleeping bags is one of the best ways to help.

Donate money

Many registered charities say it's safer to donate money to them than give directly to people on the streets.

Which you decide to do is up to you.

If there's someone specific you want to benefit from a donation, the best thing to do is give straight to them, but if you want to contribute to the overall cause then giving to a charity could be better for you.

Volunteer

As well as being incredibly fulfilling, volunteering is one of the best ways you can directly impact the lives of homeless people.

You can find out where needs help in you area from charities such as Crisis and Shelter.

Shifts can include anything from preparing and serving food at a soup kitchen to sorting through gifts and clothes to hand out.

There's an app you can use to alert services about someone on the streets

Some rough sleepers aren't known to services that can offer them help and advice.

The app Streetlink enables you to alert local authorities to the situation.

Through the app you will also receive updates on how the person you've helped is doing down the line.

You can shop for them

Shops like Crack + Cider, Linkey and the Big Issue Online shop allow you to "buy" items that homeless people need the most.

You just go into the shop, pay for what you want to buy and they donate it for you.

They offer things like hats, gloves, socks, jumpers, backpacks, umbrellas and coats.

Buy them a cup of tea and stay for a chat

Ask someone what they need, whether it's a hot drink or something to eat or just a bit of change, then stay to have a chat and ask them how they are.

Sometimes having someone to talk to and really listen to their problems is enough to make that day a little easier.

 

Give food to their dog

Often homeless people say that they will give their pet food before themselves as they'd rather be hungry than have a hungry dog.

Buying someone food for their dog can often be the biggest comfort to them, knowing that their best friend won't have to suffer.

Take part in a fundraiser

Taking part in a fundraiser for a homeless charity not only raises money but also raises awareness.

You can do night walks, sleep outs and loads of other fun festive fundraisers.



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