I am so pleased to announce the return of the popular series on Random Acts of Kindness. What started as a temporary series last fall is now a regular feature. Each month, a blogger shares the random acts of kindness they have committed with their little ones. You can visit the Random Acts of Kindness page to see previous installments of this series. You can also follow the Random Acts of Kindness Pinterest Board. I have been truly inspired by these wonderful posts!
Today we learn ways to show kindness to the homeless, from Jill of amazing Moms Gone Global. She sent me this post as she was packing for vacation: Talk about commitment! Thank you, Jill, for this great post!
Teaching compassion is a cornerstone of raising good global citizens. When driving around our city, we witness many homeless individuals in need of compassion every day.
Therefore, the focus of our random act of kindness is to give hope and aid to these homeless individuals on the street by providing them with care kits.
It is very important for parents to model empathy and charity when it comes to the plight of the homeless. It’s easy to look the other way and ignore the people on the street who are holding up signs in a state of desperation, but kids must learn to see these individuals as human beings who deserve kindness, comfort and consideration.
Some argue that giving to the homeless enables them and perpetuates their predicament. I believe that being generous with the homeless is necessary and good for the community.
To help the homeless is a compassionate act which is a high virtue and demonstrates a concern for the welfare of others without judgment. This sets a good example for the community. Further, to help the homeless in their time of need is a model of good behavior that may inspire them. It may also provide them the hope that is required to lift themselves out of a bad situation. They may one day pass those acts of generosity onto others — as kindness can be contagious.
With these sentiments in mind, I thought it would be a great idea to put together care kits and personally deliver them to the some of the people we see standing on the streets each day hoping for handouts. Speaking to a homeless person while making eye contact with them is a great way to show them respect and let them know that you recognize their value as a person. This provides them a sense of dignity that they rarely experience.
The care kits we created consisted of a reusable shopping bag filled with healthy snacks and personal hygiene items including sanitizer, toothpaste, toothbrushes, moisturizer, tissue packs, wipes and deodorant.
In an effort to feed the recipients’ souls, we included a small handwritten heart-shaped note in each bag.
The men and women we have approached on the streets were all very polite and appeared genuinely thankful for the gifts. We have seen most of them before, but only through the car windows. To engage in a conversation with them made a big impression on my boys. They now understand that these folks are real human beings who need and deserve compassion and comfort like the rest of us.
There are many ways to be kind to people who are homeless and looking to rebuild their lives. Several programs exist in shelters that require interested volunteers. In most instances, all that is needed is a small amount of your time.
Each member of our family volunteers at our local shelter which provides many services to the homeless in our city. The boys donate their outgrown clothing, toys and books to the shelter on a regular basis. We work at the donation center during the holiday season, and I serve as a reading tutor for some amazing children at the shelter’s elementary school.
Another easy way to engage in a random act of kindness for the homeless is to carry fast-food gift cards with you and hand them out when you see a person in need. This is a great option for those who have any fears about the way a cash gift could be spent.
Links for more information about helping the homeless:
GiveBackpacks.org is an organization dedicated to supporting the homeless population in Austin. Visit the organization’s website for ideas on what items homeless are often in need of.
Homeless Shelter Directory to find a homeless shelter near you.