Imagine what it would be like to be homeless. If you had no real place to call home and no one to go home to, life would be extremely difficult. During the holidays, it would be even harder. While others are celebrating and enjoying the season, the homeless or near homeless are simply trying to survive. Though we may want to do something, it’s hard to know what to do. Luckily, there are people and organizations that can help.

Steve Whitaker, president of John 3:16 in Tulsa, and Tom Jones, president of City Rescue Mission in Oklahoma City, share practical ideas on how best to help the neediest Oklahomans around the holiday season.

Both men agree that one great way to get involved is to align with an organization that can distribute donated goods to those who need it most. Whitaker suggests hosting a drive for canned foods, clothing, socks, gloves, coats and blankets.

Both also agree that it’s not a good idea to give money, food or gifts directly because of drug addictions that tend to run rampant on the streets.

Whitaker explains further, “Some people make food and then take it down to people living in encampments and give it away, but they may be giving it to people who are not legitimately homeless.”

Alternatively, both missions offer Compassion Cards that can be handed out to anyone who needs it. When the recipients return the card to the mission, they are given the necessary help.

Jones suggests sponsoring a family during the holidays and sharing a meal with them at the mission.

He elaborates, “We provide the turkey and all the trimmings. The sponsoring family provides a favorite dessert.

“You are reminded after spending time with them that they are still humans and need love just like everyone else,” he says.

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