What do you do when you see someone holding up a sign that states
“Will work for food”?
Do you roll down your window and give them money? Do you pretend you don’t see them? Nobody likes to be confronted by the homeless – their needs often seem too overwhelming – but we all want to treat them fairly and with respect.
Here are some simple guidelines to equip you to truly help the homeless people you encounter:
- Never give cash to a homeless person.
Too often, well-intended gifts are used to purchase drugs or alcohol, even when the “hard luck” stories are true. If the person is hungry, buy them a meal or give them fast food gift cards. Our Mission provides food and many other services to the homeless, and we attempt to build ongoing relationships and get them plugged into the resources they need.
- Talk to the person with respect.
Taking time to talk with a homeless person in a friendly, respectful manner can give them a wonderful sense of civility and dignity. This also allows them to fight off feelings of isolation, depression and paranoia that many homeless people face.
- Recognize that homeless people (and their problems) are not all the same.
The homeless are a diverse group. The person you meet may be a battered woman, an addicted veteran, someone who is lacking job skills…the list goes on.
- Share God’s love whenever you can.
If Jesus were walking the earth today, He would certainly spend time ministering to the homeless. He would speak with them, heal them and help them as they needed. Today, Jesus chooses to work through those who believe and follow Him. Treat the homeless you encounter with a Christ-like attitude.
- Pray for the homeless.
Exposure to the elements, occasional violence and feelings of lack of purpose can drain years from a person’s life. God can use your prayers and the brutality and futility of life on the streets to bring many of the broken to Him.
- Exercise precaution for your safety.
Always be prudent when talking with the homeless. Stay in areas where others can see and hear you. Do not take unnecessary chances.
- Refer the homeless to Hiway 80 Rescue Mission.
The Mission is prepared to meet the immediate needs of the shelter, food, clothing and medical care. We also deal with core issues through Christ-centered recovery programs for men and women.
- Support your local Mission.
Hiway 80 Rescue Mission receives no government funding. We are supported by caring individuals and families, churches, businesses and civic groups who see the value in sharing their resources and time with the less fortunate. For more information on how you can help, call 903-759-8101 and be sure to “like” Hiway 80 Rescue Mission on Facebook.