Thanks for your interest in Filling The Void. Here are answers to a few of the most commonly asked questions. Holler at firstname.lastname@example.org if we missed a question of yours.
What’s an “outreach?” How do you define that?
An outreach is when we go to serve the needy right where they are. We learn names, provide sack lunches and encourage them with a message of hope.
How long do outreaches take?
Usually about an hour – maybe a little more or less depending on the venue and city. Some outreaches take 30 minutes. Others may take an hour and a half.
What happens if it rains or snows? Do you still go out?
Yes. Some of the homeless are still going to be outside even if it rains or snows. Not all of them will go to a shelter.
What’s the most important thing I can do at an outreach?
Engage with the people we serve. Talk with them. Love them. Be a friend to people who are lonely and oppressed. Let them know that someone cares about them. The personal interactions we have are one of the things that sets Filling The Void apart.
Have you ever seen the homeless get off the streets and back to normal life?
Yes. There are multiple examples, including Ray and Larry, just to name a couple offhand. (See Ray today!) We’ve also seen people take positive steps to get jobs, go to shelters, stay sober and give their lives to Jesus. People have also said they experienced healing after our volunteers prayed for them. We’ve also talked people out of suicide.
Can I bring my kids to an outreach?
Sure. There’s no age restriction. Many families bring their children to show them how important it is to serve others. Minors, however, must remain within the custody and care of their parent or guardian while serving.
Are the streets safe? What do I need to be aware of?
We don’t recommend working alone. It’s important to work with someone who knows what to watch for. We call it being “street-wise.” Mental illness, erratic behavior and drug addictions are very real on the streets. You can learn more about the risks and rewards of volunteering in our training presentation.
Can I do a food or gently-used clothing drive for Filling The Void?
It’s a wonderful gesture, but not something that fits our formula. Very specific items go in our lunches, mostly purchased in bulk. With clothing, we refer people to shelters. We also don’t encourage anyone to give out things that help the homeless stay homeless, such as tents or sleeping bags or money. We advocate for life change, not keeping people in their current condition.
Are my financial gifts to Filling The Void tax-deductible?
Yes. All Filling The Void ministries (Inc., Tulsa, Denver and Dallas) are 501c3 non-profits per our IRS qualifying status. Learn more here.
Is it ok to give money to a panhandler?
No. It runs contrary to rehabilitative programs, providing a means for people to avoid shelters & services that will help them. Even pocket change keeps people trapped in addiction. Read this story.
Do you need extra help around the holidays?
Actually, no. Our needs for volunteer support are consistent throughout the year. We see people in need every week, not just Thanksgiving and Christmas. Please don’t forget us and other nonprofits from January through October. We can benefit from your talents anytime!