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5 Ways You Can Help Our Homeless Community this Summer

Rising temperatures present a dangerous challenge for those experiencing homelessness in the Midlands.

Oliver Gospel staff member talks with a homeless neighbor outside of the Mission.

In 2008, the City of Columbia unveiled the slogan "Famously Hot" to describe our downtown community. This slogan is no longer used by the city, but the heat remains a summertime staple in the Midlands.

The warm weather may signal the beginning of summer activities for some, but it is a dangerous reality for our homeless community.

From June to August, the high temperature in the Midlands averages around 90°F. That doesn't include humidity! Asphalt temperatures can approach 150°F. Just imagine if that was your bed.

Thousands of men and women in our community are on the streets in these grueling temperatures, wondering where they will get their next meal or stay the night.

How can you help? We can't control the sun, but we can provide resources to help those experiencing homelessness stay healthy this summer.

A man experiencing homelessness in Columbia with a cold water bottle and a fresh meal provided by Oliver Gospel.

1. Food and Water

Nutrition and hydration are critical for someone who spends long hours in the summer sun. Every day, Oliver Gospel provides healthy meals and cold water bottles to over 200 struggling neighbors in our community. You can provide one of these meals for just $2.17.

2. Care Packages

After a long, hot day in the sun, it's common to clean up and refresh with a shower. Our homeless community does not have that luxury, but we can still provide them with the essentials to stay comfortable.

Fill up a gallon-sized bag with items like:

  • Soap

  • Deodorant

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

  • Small towels or rags

  • Sunscreen

  • Bug Spray

Once your bag is full, drop it off at Oliver Gospel's front desk, where we will distribute it to those who need it most!

3. Umbrellas and Ponchos

Summer heat brings summer rain. Seemingly every day, a storm will pop up and dump inches of rain across the Midlands. You can help our homeless community be prepared by donating umbrellas or ponchos. Donations can be dropped off at our Thrift Store, where our staff will distribute them across the Mission.

Individuals experiencing homelessness lined up outside of Oliver Gospel.

4. Clothing and Backpacks

Warm weather and consistent rain can ruin clothing quickly. Go through your closet and consider donating any light summer clothing you no longer wear.

Thinking of throwing away your backpack after the school year ends? Donate it instead! Our homeless neighbors need a way to carry their supplies and materials. These items can also be dropped off at our Thrift Store.

5. Volunteer

While vacations and activities may be at the forefront of most people's minds, the summer is a great time to volunteer at Oliver Gospel! Get your family, friends, or church group together and serve a community meal or sort donations at our Thrift Store!

Summer is meant for fun, and we want to help everyone in our community enjoy the season! Generous supporters like you make that possible by keeping our homeless community in your hearts all year.


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