This is a collaborative post.
There have always been homeless people, families in debt and people struggling to get by, it is sadly part of society. Unfortunately, however, I do think things have got worse in recent years. Whether that is down to politics or we have just become greedy as a nation I do not know. What I do know however is that as a society we can all help those who are struggling in some way. It doesn’t even have to cost you anything to do so.
Do you sometimes feel like you want to help others but feel like maybe you are not in the best place financially to help? I know that feeling too. Let’s face it we don’t all have the room to take in a homeless person or buy a struggling family a weekly shop. If you are anything like me that makes you sometimes feel guilty because you want to help and really don’t know how.
This is something I have been thinking about a lot lately and I have put together a few suggestions I have thought about to help you.
5 Ways to help a family who needs food banks
It isn’t always easy to help them directly and obviously, you can donate to food banks. Alternatively, maybe these ideas will help.
Invite them over for a meal because you want to see them. It doesn’t have to be an expensive meal it could be a budget meal. You could even give them leftovers to take home. If you know them well enough this is a way of helping them out without them feeling like you are being too charitable.
If they do not drive asking if you can take them shopping may help them. The price difference between nearer shops and maybe Aldi or Lidl could help their money go further.
Pick up a few bargains to give to the next time you go shopping if there are some good reductions.
Offering to go halves on a big bag of potatoes with them because neither of you will use them all could help you both save some money and they feel less like you are donating to them.
Remember that they can’t afford luxuries but would probably still love them so if you are going for a coffee in a cafe and ask them to go say it is your treat but don’t be offended if they do not accept.
3 Ways to help the homeless in your town
Remember homeless people are not just those who are living on the streets, there are many hidden homeless people in shelters, sofa surfing or perhaps in temporary accommodations.
When you go shopping buy some extra toiletries or toilet rolls for a local homeless shelter or temporary housing. You can often drop them into reception to be given to those in need.
Some places have coat rails for those who need them. Our local hospital has a rail of coats people can donate and use if they need in the accident and emergency area. I love this idea as many of us have a coat we no longer wear or even a scarf or hat we could donate.
Next time you see someone homeless buy them a hot drink, or a sandwich or give them a little change. Whilst some people suggest that there are people fraudulently claiming to be homeless these are surely few and far between.
Let’s face it would you sit on a cold pavement for hours asking for change if you had plenty of money? If they only want money and won’t accept a sandwich then unfortunately maybe they do fall in that category but I always try not to judge because you just never know.
3 Ways to help someone with debts
I have been in serious debt before and it really is not nice. Fortunately, I got the advice and help I needed and I am now debt-free.
I am sure none of you reading this are millionaires able to help someone out by just paying off their debts. That doesn’t mean you can’t help though. Here are some easy ways you can support someone struggling with debt.
Go with them to ask for advice from Citizens Advice. It can often be daunting to make that step so a friend supporting them may make all the difference.
Help them to investigate all options from asking creditors to accept smaller amounts to bankruptcy. There are plenty of options and some, like a debt management plan (more info here) are not legally binding in the way bankruptcy is.
Offer to help them go through all their debts, listing them and working out who they owe what to. This can be the hardest thing to do and feeling like people are judging you. Helping a friend do this can make all the difference.
Do you have any personal experiences of food banks or debt that could help others? Maybe just sharing your story on your social media may help to reduce the stigma for someone so they can open up and ask for help.
You are very right in saying that homelessness is not just the faces you see on the streets in town but many are hidden away. It’s so important to help out whenever we can and I always try to add to the food bank trolley when I’m shopping in my local Tesco