10 ways to help the poor

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Provide information 
Print out cards with directions and phone numbers for Catholic Charities services, government assistance programs and other resources.

Pack lunches 
Put together a simple brown bag of peanut butter crackers, applesauce, canned tuna and a bottle of water. Add a new toothbrush and some wet wipes to help with hygiene.

Ask your parish

Many parishes have outreach programs. Ask the parish secretary or pastor if they know of individuals who need help with rent or transportation. They might know someone who is just one missed payment away from homelessness.

Gift Cards
Donate grocery gift cards if you aren’t comfortable giving cash.

Say Hello
Acknowledge their presence with a smile, wave, or by saying “God bless you.”   

Give moral support 

It can be intimidating to go to a doctor, a lawyer or the Department of Motor Vehicles. Sometimes having someone with you to hold your hand or your place in line can make all the difference. 


Donate gift cards for a haircut or professional clothing. An upgrade in appearance can boost confidence and help make a good first impression for a job interview. 

Call for help
Contact the police or social services when necessary. If you see someone exhibiting unstable or desperate behavior, make the call on their behalf. Have the non-emergency police number in your contacts list or dial 211 to speak with a trained professional who can suggest resources in Virginia.

Accept rejection 
In some cases, people may not be receptive to offers of help. Patience and prayer is all you can do at that point. And keep trying. 

Diocesan programs 
Participate in diocesan programs, such as the Prison Ministry Returning Home Backpack Program, 703/841-3835; St. Lucy Project, 703/479-2975; and Catholic Charities’ jobs ministry,  Christians Are Networking, ccda.net/programs_jobs.php, to name a few.

For more information on how the Diocese of Arlington is observing World Day of the Poor Nov. 19, go to arlingtondiocese.org/2017worlddayofthepoor.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017