Shelter the Homeless

What: Sheltering the Homeless

Why: Not only is there a very practical need throughout the winter to help provide refuge for those who are seeking shelter, but there is also the spiritual dimension. To shelter the homeless is a Corporal Work of Mercy. And, as we find ways to help provide a warm and safe place this December, we should also reflect on the Nativity of our Lord. How might we make room for the Christ child by helping those today who are also seeking refuge from Minnesota's winter?

There are many circumstances that could lead to someone becoming a person without a home. Christ encourages us to go out and meet those without homes, affirming their worth and helping them seek a resolution to the challenges they face. 

Learn more about the Corporal Works of Mercy from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops here.


Pick your CHALLENGE:

  • Reach out to your nearest homeless shelter and inquire as to the needs. Check this directory to find a shelter near you.
    • See if your parish or diocese is involved with a local homeless shelter and volunteer your time.


  • Oftentimes, our veterans suffer from some of the highest rates of homelessness. You could consider connecting with a local organization that focuses on serving homeless veterans.
  • There are many reasons that someone may not choose to go to a homeless shelter. With this in mind, you could create winter emergency kits to hand out to people you meet who do not have adequate shelter. This can be similar to what you may keep in your car in the winter in case of being stranded.
    •  Items you may want to include:
      • Hand and foot warmer packets
      • Emergency blankets
      • Thermal socks
      • Mittens or gloves
      • A winter hat
      • Scarf
      • High-energy foods such as protein bars
      • Bottled Water
      • Emergency candles and a lighter
      • Gift cards for a nearby restaurant or coffee shop so they can not only get something warm to eat or drink but can also spend some time at the restaurant as a paying customer.
    • You may also consider offering someone larger items such as:
      • Winter boots
      • A winter coat
      • A sleeping bag
      • A tent


  • Create a prayer card (perhaps, of St. Benedict Joseph Labre, the patron saint of the homeless) that also contains contact information for your local shelter or other resources. Hand this out to people you meet who are experiencing homelessness.
  • Maybe you feel called to personally take someone into your home.
  • Do you own a second home or cabin that you could offer to someone?
  • When you meet someone who is experiencing homelessness, simply ask what it is they most need to help them get back on their feet. From there, evaluate how you can either personally assist or get them connected with the right resources.

Set your GOAL: 

Depending on your challenge, you will want to set yourself a goal - whether it be material, financial, or spiritual. Some examples include:

  • Gather 5 friends to join you for 2 hours of volunteering at your local shelter
  • Make a dozen prayer cards with contact information for local shelters that can be given to people who are experiencing homelessness
  • Collect 25 coats during a coat drive at your parish
  • Collect 100 pairs of socks for your local shelter
  • Collect enough funds to cover the cost of 3 months of rent for a family in need
  • Or set your own! 

Determine your AUDIENCE:

Who do you want to join you in your monthly challenge? 

  • Just yourself! 
  • Your family and friends
  • Your parish
  • Your social media friends
  • Or whomever you want! 


Once you have an idea of how you want to step up to the challenge this month, fill in your name and information, and make sure to tell us your idea!

We will highlight people's actions to help inspire others to take action, too! If you want to remain anonymous, just state that in your comments.

After you have completed the challenge, make sure to tell us how it went on the "Share Your Story" page where you can also upload a photo.

4 people are taking the challenge. Help us get to 100!

Add Your Name to the List of Those Who Are Taking the Challenge