For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in… Matthew 25:35 (NIV)
If you feel for people who are experiencing homeless, but haven’t been sure how you can help, let these tips be a starting point!
1. Be Prepared
Carry Mission Referral Cards
with you. Take precautions for your safety, keeping in mind that some people may not be looking for help.
People who are homeless are often overlooked, so acknowledging them as a person is important. Smile and say hello. Go out of your way to approach rather than avoid them. This shows respect and gives dignity.
Start a conversation. Take time to listen. Recognize that everyone’s story is unique.
4. Don’t give money
Ask what their greatest need is. If money, what will they do with it? Think creatively about how to help without enabling them.
5. Offer an alternative
Keep care kits with you that include socks, toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, bottled water, and healthy food items. Any of these items are helpful!
6. Encourage them to go to the Mission
Lighthouse Mission provides food, shelter, and other services to help with immediate needs and address underlying issues. Carry public transportation tokens – they can be purchased at the Bellingham Station. If you feel comfortable, enter into a conversation with the person who is panhandling. Keep some of our referral cards in your wallet or purse so you can easily direct someone to the Mission.
A couple things to keep in mind: There are no fees to stay overnight or have a meal at the Mission. We’re able to provide these services because of your generosity. Please contact us at (360) 671-1562 if you would like to pick up referral cards or you can print them at the link above!
7. Pray for them
Prayer is one of the most powerful ways you can help someone who is homeless. Ask, “Could I pray with you? What would you like prayer for?”
8. Support Lighthouse Mission
Whether through prayer, giving financially
, donating items
, or following us on social media, Lighthouse Mission relies on our local community support. Our focus is on giving a hand up and out of homelessness.