"If you give a dollar to a panhandler, often you are
really funding the local tavern or drug dealer,"
says Rev. Burger. "Most Americans do not know how to
give effectively or wisely. I wish that people would
stop giving spare change to the homeless because it
can promote irresponsible and self-destructive
behaviors. What the homeless really need is
permanent change and long-term help; not spare
Rev. Burger offers "sure fire" ways your
contribution will make a real difference in the
lives of homeless, women, and children in community.
Don't give money
hand-outs. Instead purchase food items
yourself, refer the person to an agency that
can provide food, shelter, and other
assistance, or give coupons to restaurants
or grocery stores that can be turned in for
food. Want proof that change given directly
to the homeless does not go to meet their
deepest needs. Listen to Verdan, a formerly
homeless man from Los Angeles
drive up and give me a ten-dollar bill. When
it should have been a blessing, it really
was not a blessing because it was used to
buy drugs. People were trying to help.
They were being good spirited. They were
being good hearted in trying to help
somebody less fortunate. But I used their
gift to buy drugs.
Donate food to a
local agency. Food is usually in short
supply at rescue missions, shelters, and
other social service agencies. They
especially need items such as juices, meats,
soups, and stews.
such as jackets, sweatshirts, new underwear,
socks, shoes, knit hats and gloves which are
needed for men and women.
fastest growing groups of homeless people is
children and women with children, these is a
need for disposable diapers, baby food and
formula, clothing, and blankets.
children dream of new toys such as dolls,
trucks, and games. These donations may be
the only gifts they receive for a birthday
toothpaste, hairbrushes, combs, and shaving
lotions are always welcome.
"The holiday season, especially, sparks an urge in
many Americans to help the homeless, " Says Rev.
Burger. "By supporting your local rescue missions
you become part of the solution to homelessness, not
part of the problem. That's because rescue missions
are effectively transforming homeless men and women
into productive citizens and successful in promoting
The Association of Gospel Rescue Missions is an
association of 294 rescue missions from around the
country. Last year, rescue missions provided more
than 33 million meals, 12 million nights of lodging,
and 24 million pieces of clothing to homeless men,
women, and children. Rescue missions are
faith-based, private organizations that provide job
training, education, and drug and alcohol