The days have become shorter, the leaves are starting to fall. In all colors they cover the ground. The wind is picking up, you are starting to get cold and you have to wear a warm sweater.

I love cold days

What I like when it gets colder (but not too cold) Is a long walk, breathing in the fresh air. The feeling you get when you get back to your warm house, priceless. The hot shower afterwards is even better! A real treat after a workout, because a long walk is good for you.

READ MORE: 5 tips to Stay warm

Homeless on the streets of NYC

I know I am lucky. When I see the homeless, I feel bad. In NYC there are a lot of them. These are people that just can’t function well in society. And for those there is no place, except outside, on the streets. I used to give them money. But you never know what they spend it on. I have been disappointed one time when this man came out of a supermarket with a beer in his hand, bought with my money.

READ MORE: 5 tips for a Good Heart

What is the best way to start helping the homeless on cold days

We have to be smarter: We have to donate money to different places, places where homeless can get a good meal and a place to sleep. Like the Bowery Mission, very close to where I live. Every donation really does a lot. You can also give them clothing or food directly of course!

Homeless in NYC copyright Fairest Photo

My tips for helping the homeless on cold days

Every season I clean out my closet. After my friends and cleaning lady dig in and look for things they like, I take the leftover clothes to Union Square, where they collect used, but good clothes. Or we bring them to a consignment store, drop them off at Salvation Army or at The bowery Mission.

READ MORE: 10 charities to give to this year

You can also drop off groceries and essential toiletries at a soup kitchen or specialized organization. One time I helped out an afternoon at Lunch Break in New Jersey, USA. I packed bags for people with low income or who did not have a home. They need simple things like deodorant, shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste. Canned food is always good (Luckily a lot of organic food options were donated) and the soup kitchen cooks with it so the homeless can come have lunch, or they can come pick up essentials and food items. It really felt great helping out!

ACE NYC Charity

Many people from abroad sometimes think that the USA is not taking great care of its people. There are a lot of homeless, that is true. Some have come from other countries and are illegal, some just can’t keep up with the hustle and bustle of life these days, and others are simply addicted and need help. But the USA is also the country that is placed very high on the lists of countries that donate the most per citizen to charity., the World Giving Index (one is Myanmar apparently!) And there are indeed many people and charities that help homeless get back on their feet, like ACE New York.  ACE New York helps homeless by guiding them in the process of getting back to work. In the meantime they become part of Soho’s cleaning team and they keep the streets clean. in return many buildings in Soho donate to this organization because they help keep the streets clean. it is a win-win situation! I used to work a lot with this charity by helping their secondhand store Use Your Head by giving advice, raising donations and organizing events. 

Small things can make a big difference. I hope to do my thing for the homeless, especially now the cold days are coming our way.  And when I walk in the street on one of my walks? I say hello at least. These people are being ignored by most people, and they are just like us! Life is sometimes unfair, but everyone can do something to make it a bit better for others. Think about that the coming months.

Below are some local initiatives in NYC and beyond, that can inspire you to start helping others on cold days.

Salvation Army

ACE New York

First published on September 30rd 2009, updated in 2019