(KCBD) - As summertime approaches, and temperatures begin to rise, the needs of the Lubbock homeless population change.
The Homeless Outreach Team, with the Lubbock Police Department, is one organization working to help that population all year round. However, as the weather continues to climb, the donations they say they need, changes.
The Homeless Outreach Team says, while they don't personally take donations, they work with multiple other organizations that do.
SGT. Steven Bergen says, "Obviously we don't take volunteers, but the South Plains Food Bank, the Salvation Army, Open Door, or any of those places you can think of. South Plains Homeless Consortium is a good place to look. And they always need help, volunteers to help pack, whether it be food boxes, or just time to engage people."
He says that the H.O.T helps individuals with housing, food and clothing, as well as medical care, mental health treatment, employment, documentation, and even bus fairs. Saying that their goal is to keep those homeless individuals out of jail, if possible, and divert them to services or shelters.
As the weather gets hotter, Bergen says, "right now I think that water is obviously the biggest [donation needed]. I know salvation Army, once temperatures start getting up, they hand out water, and a lot of Faith based organizations kind of engage the homeless population. Water and Socks are always the number one key, any time of the year. But I think water's going to be the biggest one right now."
Bergen adds that, while donating items is very helpful, donating your time is even better. He says that while giving money can seem helpful, it is usually only helping assist the original problem
"A lot of times we get complaints about pan handlers standing on the side of the road, or walking through parking lots. A lot of the times it is because people do engage them and give them money, and you know, we really don't like that. We want folks to go out and actually donate your time. I know it's very simple to give, but generally those donations that give, those small monetary donations, don't go to housing or something to help the individual, generally to substance abuse or addictions along those lines. So volunteer your time. Those organizations that we work with all the time, we know they need people, whether it be in the soup kitchens or something along those lines. So donate your time, that's what I find to be the most valuable."