Have you ever had someone give you something that you really couldn't use? And you really needed other things instead? That's how homeless vets often feel, when well-intentioned people give them things they can't really use.
So The Veteran Site has shown us how to best bless homeless veterans this season. Here's a list of things they really do need, and a list of things that aren't as helpful.
For Toiletries: Include This: Baby wipes, lip balm, lotion, sunscreen; Not This: Soap, hand sanitizer, mouthwash. "Anywhere homeless people have access to showers will have soap they can use as well. Opt instead for baby wipes. Anything including alcohol, such as hand sanitizer and mouthwash, should also be left out."
For Food: Include This: Applesauce, pudding cups, trail mix, beef jerky; Not This: Crunchy granola bars, sticky food or candy. "Our friends living on the street don’t have regular access to dental care, so usually softer snacks are preferred over sticky and crunchy snacks. Strangely enough, however, the most sought after food item is beef jerky. Probably because it contains a ton of long-lasting protein, and fills you up!"
For Misc. Items: Include This: Travel coffee mugs, gift cards, socks, band aids; Not This:Cash, used items, shampoo, religious literature. "Including a tract, or a Bible verse may seem like a kind gesture, but ultimately, unless you are going to be there for these people every day, it can seem trite, and unhelpful. Instead, if you are the religious type, take time to get to know the people you are handing out care packages too, and ask if they would feel comfortable praying with you."
How To Give It: Sometimes, the way you present a gift says the most, doesn't it? The Veteran Site recommends going in groups, and and talking, thanking, sharing your story and hearing theirs. Sometimes people just do a quick hand-off and that can feel hollow and rushed. They advise, "You might be surprised at how similar their story is to your own, and how one misfortune landed them on the street. You will be blessing them more than you know just by giving them the respect and attention they deserve."
It's so wonderful that you want to give to homeless vets this season! What other ways do you think would really bless them? Let us know in the Comments!