Caught in an unrelenting and merciless cold wave? Forced to stay indoors, covered in thick layers of woollens, with room heaters blasting hot air 24×7? Then you must be either in Delhi or in one of the cities in North India in the grip of the worst cold wave.
The temperature in Delhi are clocking an all-time low, with December witnessing the coldest spell in 119 years. And people are longing to see the sun.
But have you given a thought to the city’s homeless, who cannot boast of either a roof or extra layers of warm clothes to save themselves from the harsh weather.
Delhi has a considerable population of the homeless, most of whom are migrant daily wage-earners. And sadly, winter does not leave without claiming its share of human lives and the homeless are easy prey.
So, if you are in Delhi, or simply want to do some good, here are a few ways you can provide the poor with the warmth of humanity they desperately need.
1. Keep Spare Blankets in the Car
If you’re a Delhite who drives to work every day, you might have spotted homeless people on your way, huddled around a fire or simply shivering in the cold.
Keep a few spare blankets and woollen clothes in your car to hand out whenever you come across these people. You can buy blankets in bulk at wholesale rates at popular shopping zones like Sarojini Nagar, Kamla Nagar Market or Lajpat Nagar’s central market.
2. Provide Shelter to the Homeless
Several NGOs in Delhi provide shelter for the night to the city’s homeless. They often seek volunteers to help expand their operations across the city. An excellent way to stand beside the helpless people in such dire times is to volunteer with any of these NGOs. Here’s a list of organisations you can work with:
Ashray Adhikar Abhiyan (AAA) – 011- 22481609 / 22483240 / 23633026
The Earth Saviours Foundation – 9818171695 / 9871675485
Uday Foundation – 011-6561333 / 011-26561444
3. Donate your Old Woollens
Even your used sweaters, cardigans or jackets can be immensely helpful for someone who cannot afford them. You can either hand over the clothes in person or donate to an NGO near you. Here are some of the NGOs that accept old clothes:
Uday Foundation – 011-6561333 / 011-26561444
Agewell Foundation – +91-29836486 / +91-29840484 / +91-29830005
Goonj – 011-26972351 / 011-41401216
Deepalaya – 011 – 28520347 / 011 – 28522263 / 011 – 28525784
NOTE: Make sure the clothes you donate are clean and in decent condition.
4. Donate Care Packages
You can donate small care packages with winter essentials – snacks, dry food, skincare products and woollen accessories like gloves, socks, earmuffs or mufflers. If you shop smart, such essential care packages can be quite pocket-friendly. Here’s a list of items you can put in your care package.
- Petroleum jelly
- A pair of gloves
- A pair of socks
- Muffler / Cap / Earmuffs
5. Donate Food
Access to food becomes even more limited for the homeless on foggy winter nights. You can take the initiative to donate a few warm meals during the unbearable winter nights. Several individuals and organisations arrange Langar or food distribution drives where you can participate or contribute. Else, you can always personally donate food to someone you find sitting at the side of the road.
6. Helping Animals in Winter
Stray animals like dogs and cats also have a hard time coping with the cold. Many citizens in Delhi are now coming forward to supply woollen clothes and food for animals as well.
Someone put a sweater on this homeless dog in New Delhi :') pic.twitter.com/4fD2MkH6GQ
— Nimisha (@Mini_Nimiii) December 23, 2016
Show kindness to the stray animals in your neighbourhood by:
- Building makeshift cardboard kennels for them on the roadside
- Covering them with your old shawls
- Fashioning jackets for dogs from children’s old sweaters
- Making rugs for them to sleep on instead of stony, cold pavements
Go ahead and lend a little support to the homeless and stray animals this winter. Your empathy just might save precious lives.
Feature Image Credits: Shinzo18dec/Instagram
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)
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