Today I was reading an entry by Christine at Smiles & Trials about some small ways to help the homeless. It reminded me of the wonderful time I spent grocery shopping with my boys.
It has been a habit for my family to buy some extra thing every time we go shopping to give to the homeless or one of the charities. In Israel we like to send and give out gifts to the Gush Katif evacuees and to those in Sderot whose homes are often damaged or destroyed by Hamas rockets. In Hungary we have the "regulars" at certain points of the city, my kids actually look forward to seeing them again. We know some of their names and we know which shelters they prefer and why, and yes, we know some of them enough to know what they like or don't like.
Another important thing is that we like to do for/with homeless people is to pay for the annual vaccination for their dogs--as many have one--at a local vet clinic.
My kids also make sure we never throw good clothes away. They love to check the no longer needed clothes for tears and stains, and they have several lady friends convinced to mend and dye old but good clothes, and then they like to make little gift tags to go with them before we drop them off at Caritas (the major Catholic charity in Hungary), Oltalom (the Methodist homeless shelter in Budapest), or at the Baptist Charity. We haven't had the chance to do the same in Israel yet, but I assume my kids will be equally enthusiastic.