The autumnal equinox has passed. Days are now shorter, nights are colder, and fall leaves are turning their wonderful seasonal colors. Soon the holidays will be upon us. With our heads full of plans for these coming celebrations, it would be easy for us to forget the more mundane tasks of preparing for winter. Though we would like to put them off, now really is the best time to winterize our homeless.
Though the harshest weather is still months away, the change of seasons, and drop in temperatures, can have a terrible impact on the homeless, triggering allergies, colds, and worse. According to the Canadian Safety Council, (I imagine they know a thing or two about cold weather), hypothermia can occur in temperatures as warm as 50°F. A look at the national weather map shows that much of our country is already experiencing these cool temperatures, and more. For people living outside, especially for those who have only this past summer’s fashions to protect them, the change in seasons can be dangerous. Yes, it may be thematically agreeable to wait until closer to Christmas to be generous towards the less fortunate, but the need for items to help the homeless survive the weather is now.
The following items can be easily obtained and distributed to the homeless. Links are provided only for your convenience, nothing is endorsed here. It is recommended that you search for items appropriate for the climate in your area. These items can go a long way towards helping the homeless survive, if just for one more season. Sometimes, that’s all it takes for a life to change. This is by no means a complete list, but it is a start.
- Jackets, and coats with hoods. (As with many items, you need only look in your closets for unused, but usable, items).
- Blankets: the silvery emergency blankets may work well, but are rarely used by homeless people because of its highly reflective material.
- Fast food gift certificates: for the opportunity to go inside the restaurant and get warm, as well as to eat.
Some people may wonder why they should bother helping homeless people who purposely live outside during the winter, and who purposely reject the idea of leaving homelessness. Most homeless people, even the chronically homeless, eventually leave homelessness for a better life, returning to a more productive role in society. But it sometimes takes years before that happens. It would be sad, if not tragic, if they died from the elements before this transformation took place. I know I would not have survived my years of homelessness without the considerable help from others.
(Photo by: tinali778)