Eradicating hunger is an ongoing challenge globally. In the U.S. alone, one of six children don’t have access to the food they need in order to thrive in life and the rate of homelessness in America doesn’t seem to stop growing every year.
New York City remains number one in the top 10 cities with the most homeless population, accruing 13 percent of people without a home. Although Florida didn’t make it to the top 10, the Sunshine State struggles to keep its rate down and it’s responsible for more than 15, 000 homeless unsheltered every day throughout the entire state. Last year Miami-Dade County saw an increase in unsheltered homeless and ranked number one with the most homeless statewide.
People who experience homelessness are subject to spare change or food in trash cans and don’t always have access to a warm, decent, meal so we shouldn’t look the other way –especially with Thanksgiving around the corner. However, sometimes a simple act of charity can become an ordeal. Last year in Tampa seven people were arrested for feeding the homeless in a public park due to not having a permit that allowed them to do so.
And just last week Malibu mayor, Skylar Peak, was in hot water for asking a church to stop feeding the homeless after Thanksgiving. Despite the controversy, many people still feel the need to take things into their own hands and address the issue. Whether if you are in NYC, LA or in our beloved Sunshine State, make a difference and pay it forward –without getting in trouble, of course.
Because it doesn’t always have to be a monetary contribution and time is golden, donating your time by volunteering will be more gratifying not only for you but also for the people you are helping. And let’s be honest, it encourages human interaction –something very much needed these days.
Here are some organizations you can get involved with:
Miami Vineyard Community Church
Based in Miami, this organization is involved in various projects to serve communities in need locally and internationally. For that reason, they are always looking for people who want to donate their time to assist the less fortunate. The Miami Vineyard’s Feed the Homeless Team serves meals at local homeless shelters several times a month. If you’re looking for something meaningful to do during the winter break, check out their website and sign up to join them.
No Kid Hungry
The organization’s main focus is ending child hunger in America and you can join their efforts by donating your time to their Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign. If you would like to get involved and get the complete 411, visit:
The FA initiative secures and distributes four billion meals every year through its network of food banks nationwide. To volunteer with your local food bank, visit: http://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank/
If you or someone you know needs access to food or needs immediate assistance with other matters, visit: http://www.feedingamerica.org/need-help-find-food/
You can visit your community church to find out if they are having events to feed the homeless this holiday season, or you can gather a team of family and friends that can help you prepare some homemade meals to deliver to shelters near you and turn the deed into a fun field trip.