Homelessness has been an issue the US has struggled with for years, and the numbers of people facing homelessness have only increased due to COVID-19. This is a subject matter that is studied and reported on every year by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and in recent studies, “the Alliance’s analysis demonstrates that, going into the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation already had large numbers of people experiencing homelessness and systems too under-resourced to reach them all.”
Though the nation has experienced three straight years of increases in homelessness, a study has found that “mass unemployment over coronavirus could lead to a 45% jump in homelessness.” COVID-19 has impacted the entire country in one way or another, and due to many individuals being newly out of work and in need, it is predicted that an additional 250,000 or so people would be without permanent shelter compared with the 568,000 who were homeless in January 2019.
This worldwide pandemic has pushed individuals and companies like Chipotle to come together and give back to others during this time – from healthcare workers to their own employees. If you feel passionate about helping the homeless, we are here to help guide you on different ways to start.
No matter what state you’re in, there are likely homeless shelters or organizations near you that are always in need of donations, volunteers, or advocates. A great place to start is by using this directory to locate a shelter in your community and reaching out to them to ask what type of service would benefit them the most.
Once you find the organization that you wish to help, now is the time to determine your action. GoFundMe has put together a list of seven ways to help the homeless:
- Volunteer your time
- Donate new and gently used items
- Kick off a blanket or coat drive
- Create an online fundraiser
- Pay for a hotel room
- Advocate and share ideas
- Give out food gift cards
Some of these options can be done individually if you have items that you can donate, or if you have the time to volunteer. Others are great group activities and require teamwork to get the best results and make the most impact. If you don’t have enough money to individually donate to your cause, there are other ways to raise money for the homeless. Fundraisers can be extremely effective in raising money while helping homeless people in your community.
Chipotle hosts fundraisers in which 33% of the event sales are donated to the cause of your choice (subject to achievement of a minimum level of sales). If you are interested in hosting a fundraising event with Chipotle to help the homeless, here are some steps to get started:
- Find an organization: There are hundreds of amazing organizations helping homeless people every day, including the ones listed above. Determine which one you wish to raise money.
- Apply online: Chipotle fundraiser applications are submitted online and are easy to submit. Make sure you have a date and restaurant in mind when setting up your fundraiser. Another piece of information you will need for the application is the organization’s tax ID for payment purposes. GuideStar is a great source when looking for the tax ID.
- Promote your event: If your application is approved, it’s important to promote your event to friends, family, and your surrounding community. Chipotle provides many resources and promotional materials, so advertising your event should be fun and easy. Remember, the more supporters you have during your event, the more money you will raise for homeless aid. You’ll need to follow Chipotle’s rules to ensure the fundraiser is not misrepresented and does not negatively impact the experience of other guests.
- Host your fundraiser: The day of your event, people can participate in the fundraiser by either purchasing a meal in the restaurant and mentioning the fundraiser during the time of your event, or they can order online or through the Chipotle app using your unique fundraiser code.
COVID-19 has impacted the lives of millions, and if helping raise money for the homeless community near you is something that you wish to pursue, Chipotle fundraisers are a great place to start. For other information on COVID-19, homelessness, and how to raise money for the homeless, here are some resources to learn more.