Celebrating World Kindness Day
It may not solve the issue of homelessness, but actually, showing a little bit of kindness to a homeless person can help more than you think. Today is World Kindness Day, so we thought we would share 5 small ways you can be kind to someone who has found themselves homeless, all of which can make a big difference.
Yes – it really is that simple. Homeless people often find themselves ignored. We have all done it. You might be in a rush, maybe it’s cold outside, or you could just be having a bad day. You spot a homeless person, and you just walk on by. Or you pretend not to see them. But the simple act of smiling is a sign of acknowledgement. After all, they are just as much a part of society as you are, it’s just that their current circumstances are different. So next time, smile and it really will make a big difference to their day.
2. SAY HELLO
A smile alone is great, but why not stop and say hello? If you pass the same person on the street every day, then you can even build up a regular relationship with them. Most people who are homeless will tell you that one of the worst things about living on the streets, is being ignored.
3. DONATE MONEY TO A HOMELESS CHARITY
Some people don’t like to give money directly to someone living on the streets, often questioning what it will be spent on. Giving money is a personal choice only you can make, but it has to be given unconditionally. Once given, it is their right to spend it however they choose. However, there are many charities working towards ending homelessness. Any donations made directly to CENS will be spent helping someone who has found themselves homeless. We have been working with homelessness for almost 40 years and we know that when money is targeted accurately, it really can help someone directly. That’s why 62% of our residents have a positive move-on from CENS. You can DONATE here.
4. GIVE FOOD OR A DRINK
The alternative to giving money directly to someone, is to supply them with a meal or a drink. I saw someone place a hot cup of coffee and a croissant by the side of a someone sleeping rough one morning and I thought, how amazing is that! It was a cold, rainy day and he was asleep in a doorway, huddled up under a sleeping bag. I walked past a little later and there he was, smiling and warming his hands on the hot drink. That must have made his day – just to know that some anonymous person cared enough.
5. LISTEN TO THEIR STORY
As we have said many times before – anyone can become homeless. Just read some of our stories! Homelessness is just a current situation that someone has found themselves in. It’s often from no fault of their own, hopefully temporary and unfortunately part of our society. If you want to really show you care, sitting and talking to them can be the greatest of gifts. The stigma attached to homelessness is a failure of our society and we need to start to acknowledge and prioritise the struggles these fellow humans are facing. We hear every day from people who all have a different story to tell, and who all deserve to be listened to and understood.
So the next time you see a homeless person, stop, smile, say hello, maybe give them some change or some food – and don’t be scared if they want to chat – it will probably be 5 minutes out of your day, but will make theirs. Small acts of kindness can have a big impact.
As part of our Christmas campaign, we are asking you to become a CENS Champion and join our community of monthly donors. Please help us if you can by clicking this link. Anything you can spare will make a difference. Thank you.