About This Series
In the WWJD series, I explain how we can copy Jesus in his beautiful and kind work to this world, while he walked the earth. In Matthew 25:35-40, Jesus talks about how helping and being there for the sick, poor, and imprisoned not only benefits them, it also benefits Jesus. Jesus goes as far as to say that when we help those people, we are directly helping him to the same degree. Here is the excerpt from scripture:
“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:35-40 KJV, emphasis mine)
Links to Other Parts of the Series
- WWJD Series: Why should I give an ear to Jesus?
- WWJD Series: According to Jesus, how should I treat the hungry?
- WWJD Series: According to Jesus, how should I treat the homeless?
- WWJD Series: According to Jesus, how should I treat those without
- WWJD Series: According to Jesus, how should I treat the sick?
- WWJD Series: According to Jesus, how should I treat the imprisoned?
Jesus was passionate about feeding the homeless and caring for the poor. Proverbs 21:13 even states, “Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.” Jesus lived by these words. He fed the hungry (Matthew 14:13-21 KJV) himself. He instructs us to do the same, “But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee” (Luke 14:31-14 KJV).
Before we dive into how you can help the poor and homeless, let’s take a look at how rampant the issue is.
The National Alliance to End Homelessness releases an annual document, titled, “The State of Homelessness in America.” This document is, “an examination of trends in homelessness, homeless assistance, and at-risk populations at the national and state levels.” The document from 2016 released some shocking news: “On a single night in January 2015, 564,708 people were experiencing homelessness — meaning they were sleeping outside or in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program.”
To give you some perspective, take the entire city of Albuquerque, New Mexico. It has a population density of approximately 2,940 people/mi², coming in at 189.5 mi² in size. Now, in your mind, fill the entire city with only residents who are homeless and then add another 7,000 people. That is how many homeless people there were in the United States in January 2015.
What’s worse is that the Volunteers of America (VOA) states that in 2017, “Over 670,000 Americans are homeless. 48 million people go hungry every night. 46.2 million Americans live in poverty.” It is clearly a growing problem.
Although homeless people in America are generally wealthier than homeless people in other countries throughout the world, it still stands that there is a serious homelessness issue in America that needs everyone to pitch in their time, love, and support in order to end its terrible effects.
“The State of Homelessness in America” document displays in, “Figures 1.1 and 1.2… the breakdown of homeless populations and subpopulations in 2015.”
Step 1: Meet Their Short-Term Needs
Safe Shelter: Search for a homeless shelter near you. Find one through the Homeless Shelter Directory. How many volunteers does the shelter need? What resources are they lacking? Do they need bedding, hygiene products, or clothing to distribute to their visitors? Find ways you can raise money for the shelter by partnering with them, serving as a volunteer staff person, or running item drives, such as for clothing or bedding.
Drinkable and Potable Water and Food: Find emergency food programs through, “Soup Kitchens, Food Pantries and Food Banks,” on the Homeless Shelter Directory’s website.
Step 2: Meet Their Long Term Needs
In order to meet the long-term needs of homeless people, we need to help the homeless meet their own short-term needs. This is obviously a long-term goal. To break that goal down into objectives and, then, tasks is what needs to happen to best help them.
Organizations like the VOA and LIFT are implementing actionable services to offer support and care to those who are needy. The VOA, “works to prevent and end homelessness through a range of support services including eviction prevention, emergency services, transitional housing and permanent affordable housing.” LIFT shows in their, “internal data… that when LIFT works with members on their most important goals, they are three times more likely to achieve them. Family goals often include increasing savings & reducing debt, finding high-quality educational opportunities and securing jobs that can provide more economic stability.” To find out more information on how to volunteer with these organizations, visit VOA’s volunteer page and LIFT’s volunteer page. These organizations and organizations like them work to prevent homelessness, as well as help people out of it.
Come back soon for “WWJD Series: According to Jesus, how should I treat those without clothing?”