Homeless shelters in the United States are in need of help all year long, but especially during this time of year when people seek shelter from the cold winter months. Did you know there are simple ways you can help your local homeless shelter, like donating household items such as new bedding?
Too many people in our country are hungry and lack safe shelter. According to the 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, on a single night in 2018, roughly 553,000 people were experiencing homelessness in the United States - and homelessness increased for the second year in a row. You can help the homeless by giving back to a homeless shelter in multiple ways. If you aren’t sure where your local shelter is, you can use the Homeless Shelter Directory to find a shelter near you. Below are 4 simple ways you can help your local homeless shelter be prepared to support the homeless.
- Donate Goods: Homeless shelters are often in need of new household items that you may own and no longer require, like new pillows, sheets, blankets, mattresses, underwear, socks, toiletry kits, and feminine hygiene products. New bedding is especially important because it offers the shelters the ability to provide comfortable sleeping arrangements for the homeless. DOWNLITE was honored to recently partner with Faith Mission to donate new bedding to their shelter in Columbus, Ohio. When you are thinking about goods that you can donate, keep in mind that homeless shelters often can’t reuse second-hand items that have been used, so it’s important that the items you donate are in new condition. Your local shelter representative will determine what items are most needed at their location and what second-hand items can be accepted to use.
- Donate Money: Every donation, no matter how small, helps. Keep in mind that all donations to nonprofits, including monetary gifts, can be declared as tax deductions for charitable contributions. You should request a form signed by the shelter that acknowledges the value of your contribution.
- Volunteer Your Time: Volunteering can make you live longer and be happier. Moreover, volunteers are needed all year round. Since people are more aware of homeless in the winter, there tends to be more donations and volunteers during this time of year. If you’d like to volunteer your time to help your local shelter, consider volunteering in the summer when there is a shortage of volunteers. Contact your local shelter directly or check out their website to learn more about the different ways you can volunteer. Each homeless shelter organization will have a different process for becoming a volunteer.
- Stay Connected and Spread the Word on Social Media: Follow your local homeless shelters on social media to stay connected on volunteer opportunities or donation needs. Spreading the word to your social network on ways people can help their local homeless shelter is an effective way to encourage other people to get involved, as well.
Get in touch with your local homeless shelter to understand how you can help. Together, we can have a big impact in helping our community.