I think my heart needed this thread.
I have been feeling tugs as I pass homeless persons lately. I am a couponer and have more toothpaste, deodorant, razors, etc than my family can use up by the time that I get more. I was thinking about putting together some kits with these items as well as a granola bar and an encouraging note to keep in my car to hand out. I do have my ds in the backseat most of the time when I drive, though, and I get scared.
My mom used to pick up hitchhikers when I was a kid, especially if they had a dog with them because she's a dog lover. In today's society a woman with 2 kids would be absolutely attacked for making the choice to pick a stranger up on the highway, but we lived in NM (hot!) and my mom has the biggest heart ever.
One thing to keep in mind, my friend said she had a talk with some homeless men who had to turn down the food she offered because their teeth were so bad they had trouble eating anything chewy/hard (like a granola bar).
My family is struggling in this economy, DH is an electrician so the housing and retail collapse have hit very hard, no one is building anything around here. The first 1/3 of the year we were living on meager unemployment, now he can pick up 10-20 hours of mowing and side electrical work but it's still not enough to keep the lights on. I understand how difficult social services can be to obtain (to get energy assistance you have to be there at 8am in person to make an appointment, then you have to have an hour later in the week to actually attend the appointment, which can be a great challenge to those of us who are working poor and cannot miss work. DH has pretty bad social anxiety problems so he can't go on our behalf) and I know times are hard, we go to the food pantry too. But I still have a roof over my head, I own a washer and dryer to keep my clothes clean, and when it rains my primary concern is remembering not to wear sandals so my feet don't get wet. My heart wants to give.