1) Cold Care Cups.
A practical way to help homeless and low-income patients served at UGM clinics during cold and flu season is to assemble “cold care cups” from simple over-the-counter “ingredients” listed below. You could make it a holiday group or family project: Decorate the outsides of the cups, write Bible verses and other encouragements, or make it a competition to see who can put them together fastest.
Or, if group projects aren’t “your thing,” we get it – you could just donate items from the list to the clinic! Either way, you’re giving comfort to someone who needs hope this winter.
Links provided as examples.
- 16-ounce hot cup and lid
- 1 lemon ginger tea bag
- 1 throat coat tea bag
- 12-pack zinc lozenge roll
- 20 x 500mg Vitamin C tablets
- 4 salt packets
- 4 honey packets
- 4 chicken broth packets
- Instructions (print out this file on both sides of paper and cut in half)
Combine items into cup, keeping a sanitary work area.
Socks are the most critical part of a homeless person’s wardrobe. A person living on the street may walk miles every day. If his shoes are cracked or ill-suited for the weather, his socks get wet and dirty – leaving his feet in danger of frost bite, sores and jungle rot. Laundry is a luxury. Generally, socks worn for several days or a week get tossed. UGM has trouble keeping them in stock. For about the price of a latte, you can give a homeless person the gift of a clean, dry pair of socks.
You could keep a supply in your car to hand out to people on the street or drop them off at the Mission, 1224 E Trent Ave., and we’ll make sure they find their way to a pair of weary, grateful feet.
Other cold weather gear is always welcome - warm, durable gloves, work or hiking boots, and warm hats are a great way to help. You can also find a list of holiday gift suggestions on our website.
3) Donate Gift cards.
Cards in $5 to $10 amounts for the stores listed below allow residents to choose a special item for themselves or their children. Drop off cards and activation receipts at the shelters.
- Anna Ogden Hall: Walmart, Fred Meyer, Target
- Crisis Shelter for Women and Children: Walmart, Fred Meyer, Target
- Coeur d’Alene Center for Women and Children: Fred Meyer, Walmart, Walgreens
- Men’s Shelter: Fred Meyer, Safeway, Walmart
4) Care Packages.
Take a large Ziploc bag and insert a few of the following items: a granola bar, warm gloves, travel-size hygiene items, lip balm, nail clippers and a water bottle. Insert one of UGM’s service cards which lists the times and locations for available services: clothing, medical clinic, showers, meals, etc. (These are available at the UGM administrative office, 1224 E Trent or for download.) Keep these care packages in your car to hand to a panhandler when you cross paths.
Perhaps the greatest gift you can give this holiday season is yourself. The UGM Men’s Shelter is open to the public for lunch (12 noon to 1:00 p.m.) and dinner (5:30 to 6:30 p.m.) 7 days a week. Why not come down, grab a tray and share a meal with someone? Ask to hear a bit of their story. Listen. Tell a bit of your own. Breaking down the barriers and confirming that we are all human beings in the same basic predicament - broken and in need of a Savior - is a gift that is both easy to give and priceless in its value.
If you'd like more specific ideas on how to help the homeless through UGM this holiday season, please visit our holiday page.
You may also be interested in these other articles on Helping the Homeless:
- Bad News First
- How I Didn't Really Help the Homeless
- Forget About the Problem
- The Whole-Person Approach