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As the winter months quickly approach, we at Blue Parrot Grill want to focus our efforts on supporting local homeless men and women. What are some practical tips for supporting homeless people during the winter months?

Reach out to a Homeless Person

Homeless people often report that they feel “invisible” to passersby. Change this and say hi to a homeless person, or even sit down and chat with them. Five minutes out of your day could mean the world to them. As you speak with them, truly listen to what they have to say. Keep in mind that although they are homeless, they are still a human just like you and they have their own unique story.

Be Specific When Asking What They Need

Of course, it is an important first step in helping a homeless person to determine their needs. Often times though, people assume they know what someone else wants without asking. Going out and buying ten pairs of long underwear and handing them out to local homeless men and women is great, but sometimes this causes certain people to be left out. For instance, if someone is overweight or obese, they may consistently have to turn down clothing given to them because it is not the right size. To avoid this, get specific when asking a homeless person what their needs are. Find out the size shoe they wear, the size shirt and pants, etc.

Be Ready to Help Immediately

As you prepare to help the homeless this winter season, keep in mind that many homeless people need something immediately. Whether that be a gift card or a granola bar, carry items with you that you can hand out at the moment. Bottles of water are another item in high demand in homeless communities because dehydration is a very common problem. If you keep a couple of bottles of water, a gift card and some snacks in your car, you put yourself in the position to be able to help a homeless person right there on the spot, and your help could make their day!

Homelessness is an epidemic here in America. Sadly, many of our homeless population are our very own veterans who have fought for our country. In order to help homeless men and women as much as possible during the long, cold, winter months, you can reach out to them on a personal level, be specific when asking what they need and be prepared to help them in the moment with a snack or water bottle. However, you find yourself helping, know that it will be appreciated by them!