Over half a million people were experiencing homelessness in the US in 2017, according to a report from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. That’s 12% more people than the previous year.
Here are nine heartwarming stories of people who helped someone in need – and the chain reactions that their acts of kindness created.
A Florida police officer helped a homeless man shave for a job interview.
Tony Carlson, a police officer with the Tallahassee Police Department, pulled into a gas station and noticed a homeless man struggling with an electric razor, trying to shave for a job interview at McDonald’s. Carlson tightened a screw on the razor and helped the man, named Phil, shave his beard.
A patron at the gas station noticed their interaction and posted a video online, which was then shared by the police department’s official Facebook page. Senator Marco Rubio’s office then helped Phil acquire the necessary paperwork to complete his job application and get hired at McDonald’s, according to CBS News.
Lauren Puryear uses her extreme couponing skills to feed thousands of people.
Lauren Puryear, a mental health clinician, set a goal of providing 30,000 meals to people in need by her 30th birthday. She founded an organisation called For the Love of Others and uses her extreme couponing skills for charity.
“There are coupons in the Sunday paper, or online that you can print… so I collect as many as I can, match them to the store, and that is how I am able to get the items for free,” she told NJ.com.
A woman donated all the food from her canceled $US30,000 wedding to the homeless.
Sarah Cummins of Carmel, Indiana, called off her wedding and couldn’t refund what she’d spent to feed and entertain 170 guests. So she invited the residents of a local homeless shelter to partake in the bourbon-glazed meatballs, goat cheese and garlic bruschetta, chicken breast with artichokes, and wedding cake while wearing formal attire donated by local businesses and residents.
“I will at least have some kind of happy memory to pull from,” she told The Indy Star.
A Bay Area homeless man was offered a job after a photo of him went viral on Facebook.
Matt Cordoza literally gave the shirt off his back to Rocky Been, a homeless man he met at Clearwater Beach.
He then posted a photo of Been, writing that “I’m not sharing this post for attention or likes but to show how happy something as small as a sweater to keep warm can make somebody feel like gold,” according to Fox 15 News.
That one small act garnered a wide-ranging response of people who wanted to help.
Crabby’s Bar and Grill in Clearwater Beach offered him a job, and a GoFundMe campaign raised enough money to provide him with temporary shelter.
“I am so amazed how people want to show their love and want to help me. I just can’t get over it,” Been told Fox 15.
A man turned his truck into a rolling shower mobile for the homeless.
Pastor Jake Austin created Shower to the People to give people who are experiencing homelessness access to a hot shower.
His truck contains a mobile shower that hooks up to fire hydrants in the St. Louis area. Shower to the People also provides jobs making soap.
“Good hygiene promotes health, fosters hope, and restores dignity to those who may have lost it,” Austin said in a video on the organisation’s YouTube channel.
Celebrity barber Jason Schneidman gives free haircuts to the homeless.
When Jason Schneidman isn’t styling Bruno Mars or Hugh Jackman’s hair, he’s giving free haircuts to people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles.
“What I find in helping homeless people with haircuts is their appearance changes, and their attitude changes, and then also the people around them see these people differently,” he previously told INSIDER.
A videographer made a viral video showing how to use Amazon Prime Now to deliver necessities to people experiencing homeless.
Rob Bliss took advantage of Amazon Prime Now’s instant delivery feature to help people with no address of their own.
“I had been thinking about how popular apps could be repurposed from their original uses, and it came to me that apps that deliver within one to two hours could likely make deliveries to people in need, too,”Bliss told TODAY.
In a video posted to YouTube, which Bliss writes is not affiliated with Amazon in any way, Bliss asks various homeless people if they need anything and orders their requests for them on Amazon Prime Now. In the online order form, he writes instructions for delivering the package – the name of the person and where they’re sitting outside a particular address. Amazon couriers then deliver the necessary items just hours later.
The video has over 2 million views.
After a homeless veteran spent his last $US20 to buy gas for a stranded stranger, a GoFundMe page raised over $US400,000 to help him buy a home — but much of the money remains unaccounted for.
When Kate McClure of New Jersey ran out of gas on an exit ramp off of Interstate 95, homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt Jr. used his last $US20 to buy her enough gas to get her home.
McClure began visiting Bobbitt regularly, providing him with a jacket, gloves, a hat, warm socks, food, and water, as well as extra cash to return the favour. She also set up a GoFundMe page called “Paying it Forward” with a goal of $US10,000. The page has since raised over $US400,000 – but Bobbitt says he only received $US75,000 and accused McClure and her boyfriend of using the rest as a “personal piggy bank.” He is still homeless.
Stephen Hawking provided a three-course meal for homeless people on the day of his funeral.
The late physicist Stephen Hawking paid for 50 homeless peoples’ meals on the day of his funeral through the organisation Food Cycle Cambridge.
The three-course Easter meal was held at Wesley Methodist Church in Cambridge. Hawking’s daughter Lucy contacted the charity and said that the family wanted to make a donation for people to have a “hot meal on Stephen,” a spokesperson for the charity told the Evening Standard.
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