Living in Chicago has opened my eyes to a world of people affected by homelessness. Walking down Michigan Avenue, the “magnificent mile”, you expect to be entranced by all the beautiful Michael Kors bags and Tiffany’s earrings, but it isn’t really like that.
There are a lot of pretty things, but I feel conflicted when I see people sitting on every corner asking for help. These people are asking for spare change and food next to merchandise that costs so much more what they need. I could spend fifty dollars on one shirt in Nordstrom or use that same money to give a person meals for several days.
This clash of different worlds always makes me want to help. If you feel the same or just want to help here are five ways to help in those in need:
- Donating items to organizations that help the homeless is a great way to impact their lives. Chicago is the windy city and the weather is always unpredictable. Look through your old winter clothes as you put them away to see if you can donate anything. Or as the warm is approaching look for the summer clothes that you no longer wear. Facing Forward to End Homelessness and other charities are always looking for donations
- Donating food of any kind is always helpful for anyone in need. Many people are struggling with hunger and a meal is always helpful. Check out charities or soup kitchen in your area.
- Volunteering at a shelter is the best way to really get to know the people in need and help them face to face. You can volunteer at a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, habitat for humanity
- Buying the newspaper StreetWise helps the homeless and those at risk earn an income as well as helping them learn how to be financially responsible and find housing. You can also donate to Streetwise to help them keep their organization flowing.
- Lastly, if you are in the position try to create jobs for someone in need DO IT! Donating is great, but giving the opportunity to fully get out of homelessness is the best way to help.
Looking for more charities helping the homeless in the Chicago area? Check out Zealous Good for many different charities looking for donations!