Reporting Mai Martinez
A picture that has become a viral sensation this week shows a NYPD officer giving a pair of boots to a barefoot homeless man on a cold night in Times Square earlier this month.
But it turns out here in Chicago, similar acts of kindness happen every day without the fanfare.
Curtis Lockett spends most of his days asking for help.
But sometimes he gets more than he expects.
“Some people buy me a coat or give me some gloves,” he tells CBS 2’s Mai Martinez. “It’s surprising, you know?”
Passersby like Sean Bambic often give a few coins.
“I know this guy. I see him every day and he could use the help,” he explains.
But if you’re hesitant to give money, there are other ways to help.
“Support a local shelter or get involved and volunteer in that way. It’s not always going to be what’s in your pocket,” says Michael Nameche of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.
Donations to established organizations also work wonders.
“It really stretches out for us to be able provide homeless services, for us to be able to provide drug-treatment services, for us to be able to provide food, obviously, for people on the street,” Richard Vargas of the Salvation Army says.
But some homeless people say they’re not looking for a handout — just a hand up. They often turn to Streetwise, which allows them to earn $1.10 for every magazine they sell.
“They’re selling a magazine, that they’re doing a job, as opposed to shaking a cup,” executive director Jim LoBianco says.
But for those who are shaking a cup, there’s one thing people can give that doesn’t cost a cent — a simple hello.
“It’s better that way because you’re not ignored,” Lockett says.
Another way to help is by giving the homeless vouchers purchased through the “Chicago Shares” program. Each voucher is worth $1 and can be used at designated vendors in Chicago to buy food. Click here to learn more.