Back in August, my family and I went to Los Angeles and San Diego just to vacation and chill out. Right before I headed to college, this trip felt perfect, and I discovered something pretty cool that I think you all can try at home.
Every time my family and I ate at a restaurant, we always had leftovers. From wings to pad Thai to extra white rice, I contemplated whether leaving nearly half a meal was environmentally friendly and even economical as so many homeless lived right outside of the restaurants where we often ate at.
I decided to try something simple: every time we had leftovers, I would ask for a box to go so that I could give the food to the homeless out on the streets. Instead of giving money or simply walking past them, I could give them something that would save them a meal.
The sad reality
While in SoCal, my family and I noticed the ginormous amount of homeless. Startled at this realization, I asked myself what caused this large amount of homeless population. While I was in Los Angeles, I came across a sign that directed me towards a website called LA Family Housing. As my family drove around in our rental car, I poked around on the website. Check it out to see the causes and possible ways you can help in your area.
According to LA Family Housing, the lack of affordable housing amounts for the number one reason why many people end up homeless. I would really love to investigate this topic further; however, in this post, I will mention just a simple step you can do that will go a long way.
Right outside the restaurants
Unfortunately, it is not hard to find someone on the street asking for money in the Northern Virginia area where I live. I often do not have any spare water bottle or granola bar on me when I walk past them, so I have nothing to offer; except, when I leave restaurants, I have a bunch of leftovers with me. Since I have plenty of food at home, I like to give my leftovers to the homeless that often lurk around malls and some of the restaurants that I frequent.
In Washington, D.C., one can easily spot the differences between the distinct socio-economic statuses of people. Right outside some of the fanciest and high-end places are right where homeless people can easily be spotted. After having a delicious meal, just by walking outside, I am met with the heartbreakingly reality of the homeless, wishing I could offer them anything to fight the chilly winter weather during this time of year.
Instead of leaving the food on your plate that will go straight to the trash, take it on the go with you and drop it off with someone that will really favor it.
Support your local street newspaper!
In addition, you can support the homeless through purchasing newspapers that they write and sell. Street Sense Media in Washington, D.C. is this awesome organization that lets homeless people write and sell a newspaper called Street Sense. Check it out!
The larger organization that supports papers like these is called the International Network of Street Papers. Visit their website, too! I wrote a blog post more in depth about this topic and my experiences with the vendors and their newspaper.
Thank you all so much for reading! I hope that you all had an awesome time over the holidays.
Talk with you all soon!
Quote of the post:
“Either you run the day or the day runs you.”