How To Help The Needy Throughout The Year In Charlotte

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(Photo by: Nichole Jaworski/CBS CLT)

(Photo by: Nichole Jaworski/CBS CLT)

(CBS Charlotte) — The holidays are upon us, and it is often during the holidays that people take time out of their busy schedules to help someone in need.

While any act of altruism is certainly noble and appreciated, the problem with holiday giving is that there tends to be an abundance of support and supplies readily available for those in need — but as the year progresses, the support and supplies fade.

The truth is, around this time of year, most shelters and organizations that help the needy receive too many food donations — to the point where a great deal of it gets thrown away.

While people in need certainly benefit from holiday giving, they experience a deficit of giving the rest of the year — which leaves them vulnerable, hungry, and in need of vital supplies that most of us take for granted.

A better way to help someone in need, besides during the holiday season, would be to recognize their needs throughout the year. This can be done easily, and it doesn’t require a whole lot of effort on your part.

Simple, kind gestures really do go a long way in the eyes of someone enduring a difficult point in their life. However, the sad reality is that in times when suffering is high, and many people are in need, their needs can feel overwhelming to someone trying to help. In truth, a lot of people don’t help because they believe that what they can offer isn’t enough to make a difference. But, if everyone thought that way, no one would ever receive the help that they so desperately need.

If you pass by someone in need, a great question to ask yourself would be, “How can I help this person?” Is there a small gesture I can do (right now,) that will improve their day or quality of life?” Would a pair of gloves or socks, a warm cup of coffee, or a couple of dollars brighten their day? The answer is yes. Not only do those needed items help someone in need, just the simple act of showing that you recognize their suffering and that you are actively trying to assist them can help their feelings of despair fade.

Even if you have nothing of monetary value to offer someone in need, taking a few moments out of your day to talk to them can improve their self-esteem and can make them feel important.

How To Help Through An Organization, Group, Or Facility

Sometimes, it can seem intimidating to help someone in need by yourself. There are various organizations and grassroots efforts throughout the Queen City who directly assist people in need.

The HOPE Project: This group partners up with other organizations to offer a wide range of volunteer opportunities. For more info, click here.

Homeless Resource Center: Do you want to serve and/or provide meals to people in need? The Homeless Resource Center is a safe place where homeless people in Charlotte can go to obtain a warm meal and needed supplies. It is run through a joint partnership between Mecklenburg County and various ministries. For more info, click here.

Crisis Assistance Ministries: CAM assists Mecklenburg County residents in need with financial assistance, clothing and household items. There are a number of ways you can volunteer through their program. For more info, click here.

Byers Backpacks: This program assists homeless children in Mecklenburg County by providing them with backpacks full of food for the weekend. For more info, click here.

Urban Ministries: Urban Ministries is the only ongoing day facility in Charlotte that people in need can visit to do laundry, seek counseling and get help with finding employment, in addition to eating lunch and other needed services. There are a plethora of volunteer opportunities available at the center. For more info, click here.

DMP Street Team: This group distributes food and vital supplies to the street homeless in Uptown Charlotte. For more info, click here.

-Nichole Jaworski, CBS Charlotte

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