What the NJ Homeless Need in the Summer Other than Money
They're invisible in the city yet when you see them you feel either sympathy, pity, or fear. There are many different reasons the homeless got that way, especially after all we've been through in New Jersey the last few years.
32-year-old Sam Green so feels for the homeless that he and his dog Pork Roll are walking from Sandy Hook to Los Angeles in an effort to build a homeless shelter in Ocean County.
Just like winter, summer is hard on the homeless. The heatwaves are unbearable and many either refuse or are afraid of going into shelters. You may see them in malls or public places before they're asked to leave.
Caroline Scherrer is co-founder of People For The Poor, an organization that gives 100% of its donations to help the homeless and hungry of South Jersey. She is relentless in her quest to help the homeless and told us the importance of socks in the winter, more than a coat.
As for what the homeless need in the summer, other than money, Scherrer says: "The homeless are having a difficult time with the extreme heat. The main problem of my homeless is lack of food and WATER. They do not have the luxury of going into the fridge to get a cold drink, or go to the kitchen sink and get a glass of water."
"The sun can beat down on their skin causing severe sunburn (no sunblock). Having no summer clothes (shorts, T-shirts, sandals, etc) to wear during the day and then when we have chilly nights, if they have shorts, they need more than that to keep them warm. Life can be a challenge for them in ways we never thought of and again, we take so very much for granted," she said.
What can we do to help?
"I reached out to my homeless shelters and was told that summer clothes such as what I mentioned before: shorts, T-shirts, and sandals would be wonderful. Most of my homeless don't have silly things like a couple of pairs of shorts to wear in this heat. If you see a homeless person, instead of giving them socks, give them a bottle of water, which you can keep in your glove compartment. It doesn't make a difference if the water is warm — the water is wet and regardless of how warm it may be, when you are thirsty, wet is great!"
And you would be great to a homeless person if you would heed this advice. Some people are afraid to give money to a homeless person because they're afraid of what they'd do with it. Like it's any of their business.
Sometimes food can be an issue unless they see you buy it because some people are vicious and could put stuff in it. But a sealed plastic water bottle would go a long way, especially in this summer heat.
Maybe you can drink a toast to better days for the homeless as well as your generosity. Salute! Chin-Don!