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SEARCH’s Program Managers Provide Their Advice on Talking to Your Children About Homelessness #3

Wendy Moore, LCSW -Stabilization Services, Program Manager

What do average Houston drivers keep in the backseat of their cars? Pens and change lodged in the seats, circulars you fully intent to read, a car seat, your jogging shoes and yoga mat, or a pet’s chew toy. While your car’s backseat can be the home for random and forgotten items, it can also be the keeper of hope.

What are some other things you might keep in your back seat? Try this project with your kids.

One weekend, gather the kids and head to your local grocer. Rather than pick up food to fill your refrigerator, talk with your kids about what you might buy for people, experiencing homelessness, they see on the streets of Houston. Start by asking a lot of questions: What snacks might we choose for people we see standing on the streets holding a homeless sign? What do you think they might like to eat on a spring day like today? If you were hungry, what would you want to eat and why?

Lists created, your kids can create small care packages: cheese crackers, tuna in a pop top can, granola bars, peanut butter, or a bottle of water or juice, any non-perishable is great. It’s not how elaborate your care packages become, rather the conversations you have with your kids while shopping for these items to store in your car. Then, when you’re driving through town and you see someone who is homeless, greet them with a smile, ask your child in the back seat to pass you some of the food your bought, and share a snack with someone who is hungry. Whether or not they show it at that moment, the person you helped will be grateful.

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