5 ways you can give back to those who are homeless for the holidays

Homelessness is a crisis across the nation. 

In the year of 2022 alone, there were some 582,000 Americans experiencing homelessness, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

The District of Columbia, California, Vermont, Oregon, Hawaii and New York experienced the highest rates of homelessness in 2023, according to World Population Review. 

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Although the crisis is more prevalent in these areas, people across the country can use your help this holiday season. 

Below are five things you can do to help those struggling with homelessness during the holidays.

With cold winter weather rolling in, many homeless individuals don’t have the proper clothing to protect themselves against chilly temperatures. 

Consider making a donation of warm clothing to a shelter to help keep individuals healthy and warm during cold months. 

This includes jackets, gloves, hats, scarfs and warm pants. 

Blankets are another great item to donate to shelters, especially in the winter. 

During the holiday season, consider dropping off toys to an organization or shelter supporting homeless families. 

Your toy donation can bring a smile to a struggling child’s face this Christmas. 

A care package can include day-to-day necessities like toothpaste, toothbrushes, hair combs, tissues, Band-Aids, lip balms and snacks. 

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Especially during the holidays, it is a nice touch to add a card to your care package with encouraging words. 

These can be brought to your local homeless shelter to be distributed to people in need. 

There are many worthy charities you can donate to this holiday season. 

If you want to help fight homelessness specifically, some organizations to consider are Coalition for the Homeless, Covenant House, Family Promise and the Salvation Army. 

You can also choose to donate through GoFundMe, if you know of a specific family or individual who could use help during the holidays. 

Offering a helping hand doesn’t always have to come in the form of a monetary donation. Donating your time can be just as valuable. 

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Look into volunteer opportunities at your local shelter. Especially during winter months, shelters are often overflowing with individuals trying to stay out of the cold.

The high capacity shelters face during winter make volunteers vital to keep operations running smoothly. 

You may volunteer by helping distribute food to individuals in shelters. You could also look into opportunities to share any skills you have with those who are homeless. 

This could include how to manage money, a cooking class or properly preparing for a job interview. All of these skills can provide great benefit in the future. 

You could also consider hosting a fun event like a painting night, bingo or even a dance class.

When you see a homeless person, always show them kindness. This could be as simple as a kind word or a comforting smile. 

If you pass by a homeless individual, consider offering them some food, a few grocery items or a gift card to a local café or restaurant. 

Your small gesture could make a world of difference. 

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.

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