As we all know, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is this Monday. It is more than just a day off for some; it is a day about service. It is service for your community, service for the homeless, service for the less fortunate. Here are a few ideas if you are able to volunteer your time this coming weekend.
This is often overlooked by many people. Many homeless men and women (and children) are not able to afford the basic necessities. To the fortunate, going out and purchasing a toothbrush and toothpaste is not a big deal. For some, it is a difficult decision to choose food or hygiene.
What you can do is collect toothbrushes, travel sized toothpastes and mouth washes, wash clothes, small bars of soap, shampoo, and donate them to your local St. Vincent de Paul. They are always in need of these items.
Collect stuffed animals
Do you have some old stuffed animals collecting dust in the attic/basement? Why not donate them to children in need? Many times homeless shelters will accept gently loved stuffed toys, or contact SAFE (Stuffed Animals for Emergencies) and start your own stuffed animal drive. Both places will make sure children who are in need of a stuffed animal receive one.
Let’s face it, after Thanksgiving and Christmas, food banks tend to take a back seat to other charities. People still have to eat though. This weekend when you are at the grocery store, keep in mind that your local food bank or St. Vincent’s could use some non-perishable food donations. Canned foods, pancake mixes, boxed mac and cheese, peanut butter, jelly… the list goes on. On your way back from the store, you just have to drop it off at your local church in the donation box.
Do a good deed
I’ll never forget when I was walking down the street and saw someone handing out McDonald’s cheeseburgers and fries to homeless people sitting on street corners. He handed them a burger and fry and sat and had a conversation with them while they ate, and continued to do this until he ran out of food. Not only did you give someone a hot meal, but you also gave them a chance to talk to someone who was not judging them for their life choices. Showing that they still matter is the good deed, and the burger and fries is just the bonus!
If you are amongst those who have to work, have bad weather, or have other obligations this weekend, you can always donate using Parish Giving. All you have to do is put your zip code in and see what churches are in the area. There is even a selection for St. Vincent de Paul Society so you can donate to them. A good deed such as this never goes unnoticed.