TIPS: AT A STOPLIGHT

“It’s not about what you can give.

It’s the two minutes you give me. Talking to you at the stoplight gets me through the day.” 
– Friend on the Street
See the Person First

We’ve all experienced it. You pull up to a stoplight and see a man or a woman with a sign, and you feel helpless. You want to do something, but what? Here are some simple things you can do in the 30 seconds before the light turns green or when you are walking by someone on the street.

  • Ask the Person’s Name
    
One of our friends on the street told us he went 4 months without hearing his own name. Ask their name and remember it. If you have time ask where they are from, hobbies etc.
  • Reach Out and Offer a Handshake
    This simple gesture breaks a barrier and expresses that you recognize their dignity.
  • Ask for Prayer Requests
    If time allows, ask if there is anything you can pray about for them.
Meet the Material Need

Although encountering the person is more important than giving material goods, there are certain items we suggest to keep in your car that our friends on the street really appreciate. See list below.

BLESSING BAGS

How to:
  1. Fill a gallon sized ziplock bag or drawstring backpack with any of the following items.
  2. Keep the bag of items in your car to give away when you encounter someone experiencing homelessness.
  3. You don’t have to give the entire bag. You can tell them what you have, and ask what they would like.
  4. Making blessing bags together can be a great way to get your parish or small groups involved in serving the poor. 
  5. Instead of donating these items to a shelter, use them to faciliate a personal encounter of your own. 
What to Include:
  • Bottled water
  • Large socks
  • Soft foods (nutrigrain bars, bananas, fruit cups)
  • Hand wipes
  • Feminine products
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstick
  • Lotion
  • A Rosary (many of our friends have said they feel more comforted)WINTER
  • Wool socks are a necessity
  • Hand warmers
  • Hat/Gloves/Blanket/etc.
What NOT to include:
  • Razors
  • Mouthwash / Hand sanitizer (or anything containing alcohol)
  • Ibuprofen
  • Full-size toiletries (travel size is easier) 
  • Hairspray