Tips for Helping the Homeless

Tips for Helping the Homeless

Men and women have entered our recovery program and left experiencing hope, confidently embracing independence. Someone at Matthew’s Hope cared enough to reach out and let them know how and where to begin.
Perhaps you are structurally challenged right now. Do you need help?
If you want to help others, you can volunteer at Matthew’s Hope.
You can make an online gift today, or donate by phone or mail, to help bring about lifelong change in the life of a man or woman.
Here are some more ideas.

Tip #1 – Acknowledge & Engage

Homelessness brings a sense of loneliness that erodes the core of a person’s self-value. When you are homeless, a smile and a word of kindness can make a difference. So be sure to acknowledge the homeless you encounter in the street.
Say a simple hello. Talk with them and engage in a simple conversation.
Take time to learn about your homeless neighbor, asking about his or her story and family. This shows that you care.
Avoid stereotyping or stigmatizing the homeless. Many paths lead to homelessness.

Tip #2 – Be Ready to Help Today

Sometimes, the homeless just need help to get through the day. In general, it is better not to give away cash. Instead:

  • Carry Pastor Bucks in your wallet. This way you can help your homeless neighbor here in West Orange County to come to Matthew’s Hope and get something to eat from our pantry. If they come here, we have lots of ways we can help. (See tip #4 for more details)

  • Pack granola bars in your pocket or purse; they provide energy and nutrition.

  • A small bottle of water also helps prevent dehydration, a common health concern for the homeless community.

  • Instead of keeping clothes in your closet that you’ve outgrown, carry one at a time and give it away to someone you see living on the streets:

  • A clean T-shirt and some new socks can do a lot for someone’s spirits outside in the sweltering heat. Being able to change to clean, fresh clothes helps lighten the day.

  • During the colder weather, consider a pair of winter gloves, a scarf in a color you don’t like anymore, a knit hat that you got for free at a game or event.

  • If you travel often, next time you stay in a hotel remember to grab the complimentary hand lotion (that small bottle in the bathroom) and keep it in your pocket or bag. This lotion can help more than you think.

Just Remember:

Always ask if they would like help, rather than giving away something they may not actually want or need. Many of your neighbors in need will be grateful for toiletries, clothing, food or water, but some may be unable to appreciate your help. Please don’t be discouraged. Just smile and keep on your way. You may find someone else to help.

Tip #3 – Understand & Tell

Homelessness carries many stereotypes and stigmatization that make it hard to help others. Learn about the different paths that lead to homelessness: every person living on the streets has a story.
Some are educated and down on their luck. Some struggle with addiction. Others lost everything to medical bills, and some suffer mental illness.
No matter what brought them to homelessness, they all have value.
Tell what you learn to friends, family and colleagues.
Have a blog? Write about what you learned about homelessness this month, and tell us too!
If you volunteer and tell others about your experience with enthusiasm, you can help eliminate misconceptions and stereotypes.
Gather a group of friends and volunteer together, collect food or clothing in your community and donate it.
Ready to learn more? We’ve gathered some facts about homelessness in central Florida.

Tip #4 – Invite

Homelessness is very complex and, many times, generates vicious circles that are hard to break. However, Matthew’s Hope has been providing immediate help as well as long-lasting recovery programs since 2010.
If you want to help a homeless person get back on their feet, you can point them to Matthew’s Hope and invite them to get help here.
Print and carry with you this resource card with information on how to get to Matthew’s Hope and what type of help we offer.
blessing buckYou can also stop by our offices (at 1460 Daniels Road in Winter Garden) and purchase some “Pastor Bucks” in increments of $5.
Pass these out to men and women of West Orange county that you meet and they can exchange these at Matthew’s Hope for services and goods, like food from our pantry, produce from our garden, clothing, toiletries and more.
You can also hand them a Lynx bus card with one ride-worth so that they can get on their way that very same day.
Remember, they may not accept your invitation right away, but it is good for them to know they have it available when they are ready.

Tip #5 – Pray

Finally, pray for your homeless neighbors.
You can pray by yourself, or with friends and family. Pray that their physical needs are met. But also pray for their emotional and spiritual needs. Pray that they find the motivation to join a recovery program and seek for the help they need. Sign up online to join our prayer team, and get a weekly prayer request sheet with specific prayer requests.
You might consider praying with your homeless neighbors. Just ask first if you can pray out loud with them. Most people will be grateful for the offer, although some might not prefer you to pray with them.

Administrative Offices

611 Business Park Blvd. #101
Winter Garden, FL  34787
Phone:  (407) 905-9500

Monday - Friday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM 

Matthew's Hope Firm Foundation

Preschool & Daycare * DCF Lic. #C09OR1096

740 9th Street

Monday - Friday 7:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Outreach Center 
611 Business Park Blvd. 
Tuesdays & Thursday 7:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Matthew's Hope Chest Store

Tri City Center 

1027 S. Dillard Street * Winter Garden

Monday - Thursday 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Friday & Saturday 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM


1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) / 

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