How Can We Help Poor People?

by Kathy Adams
Food, clothing and transportation are necessities, no matter what the income level.

Food, clothing and transportation are necessities, no matter what the income level.

Helping the impoverished means different things to different people, but that's the beauty of it. Help others in ways that mean the most to you -- if hunger is a concern, you can join a group or find a means to help feed the poor on your own. In the same manner, if you enjoy construction projects, you may enjoy participating in a home-building effort that helps the less fortunate.

Food for the Less Fortunate

Hunger is a major issue for the impoverished; small or non-existent incomes mean little money remains to purchase one of life's key necessities: food. To help feed those in need, donate non-perishable items to a local soup kitchen, food bank or food pantry. Contact your local city hall or a nearby social-services organization to find charitable food programs close to home. Another way to help feed the less fortunate is to gather a group of friends, make brown-bag lunches, and hand them out in communities that allow the practice. Some communities have specific rules about such efforts, so be sure to ask local officials or food-based charity representatives to find out ahead of time. Join a group such as [Hashtag Lunchbag](http://www.hashtaglunchbag.org/) to participate in an existing effort. If you have a specific local family or individual in mind, offer to buy them a bag of groceries.

Care Through Donated Clothing

You may take clothing for granted, but for the homeless or impoverished, apparel may be reduced to a basic outfit or two. Offer unneeded -- or even brand-new, unworn -- clothing to charitable organizations such as emergency shelters and women's or family shelters. Large organizations such as The Salvation Army or Goodwill also accept clothing donations, but the items may be resold, with profits benefitting those in need. Purchase socks -- or gloves, hats and scarves in a cold-weather area -- and donate the items directly to homeless you come across during your usual day-to-day activities.

Building Better Life Situations

Organizations such as [Habitat for Humanity](http://www.habitat.org/getinv/volunteer_programs.aspx) help build or maintain homes for those who may have trouble affording such major undertakings on their own. If you enjoy building things, contact a local Habitat office to learn about ongoing projects in your area. Other projects such as home maintenance for the less fortunate offer additional opportunities to help. You may even know of a family or individual in need in your own area; if so, ask the homeowner if you can help them with a repair or maintenance project if you have such skills. If you like the idea of construction and maintenance-based projects but do not have the skills or the time to help directly, many organizations performing such work also accept donations of tools, supplies and money to help the cause.

Transportation Assistance

A vehicle or means of transportation is a necessity for everyday situations such as doctor visits, work and grocery shopping. Offer to help fix up or pay for repair bills for a family you know who needs help with their older semi-functional car. Donate a vehicle you no longer need to an organization that fixes up vehicles and uses them to serve the impoverished; contact a local social-services organization to help determine which groups in your area accept used cars and can pick them up. Donate bus passes or offer rides to folks who you know and are comfortable helping directly. A trip to a grocery store or doctor's office offers assistance to someone who has no easy way to get to such destinations on their own.

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