How Can We Help The Homeless This Winter?

I am not a fan of winter.

How can we help the homeless this winter?


Oh, I love winter fashion: boots, fluffy jerseys, scarves and coats. But the actual cold? I could do without it. I never used to mind the cold so much, but after living on the equator for two-and-a-half years, my body can’t handle the cold the way it used to.

Winter has been here for just over a week, and I have admitted defeat. This afternoon, I am going to buy myself a onesie.

Getting up in the mornings is really difficult. It’s dark, it’s cold, and when Emmy calls out at 5 a.m. my instinct is to burrow myself deeper under the blankets and hope that my husband will get up to fetch her. “I have to shower now,” he says, so I head to the girls’ room grumbling, and climb under Emmy’s duvet. “I don’t want to cuddle,” she says, “I want breakfast.”

I shouldn’t complain. I have warm clothes and a warm bed to sleep in. I have gloves and slippers and a heater. I may be cold, but I am not cold.

I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like to be homeless at this time of year. To have a single blanket – if that – to guard against the icy wind. To use a piece of cardboard as a mattress, to have the pavement instead of a bed.

And here I am, complaining that with my long-sleeve shirt and jersey and gloves and boots, I am not warm enough.

Perhaps you are, right now, thinking that you are not warm enough in all your layers.

My intention is not to make you feel guilty, but I do have a favour to ask. Would you buy a pair of socks, or even donate one of your pairs, or all your single socks that are missing their partners, to an organisation that will pass it on to a homeless person? And, if you have a spare blanket, or the money to buy one, would you donate it as well?

My church is running a blanket and sock drive this winter. If you’re in or near Edenvale, you can drop off socks and blankets at the church. I am also donating a portion of my sales of my ear warmers and scarves to the sock and blanket drive, so ordering one will support this cause.

Our pregnancy crisis centre is also looking for baby clothes, ladies clothes and soft toys. If you have any of these that you aren’t using, please consider donating them.

If you’re looking for other ways to help, you can also give packets of soup powder to people begging at intersections. I’m always reluctant to give money, but a friend once mentioned that most people have something that they can boil water in, and some means of making a fire, and a packet of soup mix can feed two or three people.

What other ways can we help the less fortunate this winter?

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