As families around the country begin preparing for the holidays, thousands of other families find themselves experiencing hardship. Whether due to financial or medical challenges, or natural disaster, this holiday season, many individuals will be in shelters or on the streets, while others enjoy the comfort of festivities in their warm homes.
The holidays are undoubtedly one of the more difficult times of the year for individuals experiencing challenging situations. This season, an estimated 564,708 people in the United States will be homeless. In addition to this, 550,000 unaccompanied youth and young adults will be, or have experiencing a period of homelessness lasting longer than a week.
1 in every 5 households across the nation will receive food stamps for the holidays. This has a significant impact on adults, with children suffering both psychologically and physically. Children who are experiencing homelessness and poverty may find it uncomfortable when asked in school about their holiday plans, family traditions or gift exchanges. While school celebrations can offer some children a worry-free and enjoyable experience, they may not understand the lack of holiday celebrations in their home lives. In fact, as schools break for winter holidays, children experiencing poverty and homelessness do not have a safe place to go for the week. Moreover, many may not even have the one meal they receive while at school.
Unfortunately, the lack of proper outerwear is a stark reality for many of these families and individuals. Families must brace for the cold winter conditions while also struggling to make ends meet during this typically “merry” season. With so much hardship facing many people across the United States, we must take a moment to ask ourselves if this is really “the most wUNDERful time of the year”. Continue following Delivering Good and our efforts this holiday season as we aim to provide a sense of warmth and joy to those in need.