The holiday season is fast approaching!
by Daniel Smallwood
It’s hard to see homeless people on the street. Whether you want to help for religious or moral reasons, it can be very hard to know exactly what to do to help.
Volunteer opportunities can vary from serving meals in the shelters, sorting, shelving, packing, distributing food to meet public needs, sorting clothes, doing yard work and assisting during the holidays to provide food and toys for needy families.
“The world of a homeless person is a tough and not so friendly world,” said Patrick Register, a senior at Norfolk State University who volunteers at Norfolk’s Union Mission. “Having the ability to be able to help those less fortunate than us should inspire us to want to help. If you are in a great position to help, why wouldn’t you want to?”
According to The Union Mission Ministry website, volunteer opportunities are offered daily. Here are some opportunities for you to get involved. Volunteers must be 18+ years old.
- Men’s Shelter – Provide a meal and/or serve it, provide bag lunches, teach a class, clean the shelter.
- Women & Children’s Shelter – Adopt a holiday, provide a dessert or serve a meal, teach a class, provide child care or tutor/read to children, sort clothes, clean the shelter.
- Warehouse/Grounds – Sort food and pack food boxes, clean and organize, repair and test electronics and appliances, repair bicycles, landscape and general yard work.
- Thrift Store/Production – Sort, hang, tag, and size clothing, linens, shoes, purses, books, and other items; fluff store racks and arrange items on shelves; assist with special sales.
Also, if you can’t give your time, there are other ways to help. Below is a list of some various items you can purchase and give to your local shelter. Shelters are always in need and thankful for these items.
Bus passes (can be purchased at Farm Fresh in a pack of 5), towels, wash cloths, hand-towels (preferably white for bleaching), shower shoes (flip-flops – all sizes are accepted), underwear, travel size toothpaste, deodorant, razors, undergarments (women), pajamas (women/children), hair brushes/combs, shower robes and Bibles (no small print).
Here are a couple of homeless shelters that are close to NSU’s campus. Check them out!
- The Union Mission Ministries
5100 E Virginia Beach Blvd, Norfolk, VA 23502
- The Salvation Army Emergency Men’s Shelter
203 W 19th St, Norfolk, VA 23517
- Volunteers for the Homeless
800 Williamsburg Ave, Suite B, Portsmouth, VA 23704-3338