You can help the homeless in many, many different ways -- from soup kitchens to donated goods to advocacy. If you live somewhere that homelessness is a true problem, you may find that you want to help in some way that will directly impact the life of an individual. And if you love garage sales, you can combine these two passions by helping homeless people in your area host garage sales of their own and keep the profits for their own use.
First, partner up with a homeless person (or a few homeless people) who wants to take part in a garage sale. Build a rapport with him or her (or them), and talk to them about what they want to accomplish. Ask them what they've got of their own -- like a tarp, the ability to make signs, things like that -- and tell them what you have to offer. Be sure you're sensitive about acting haughty; they are just as much human beings of worth as you are, and you should not treat them as if they are below you.
Unless you have a ton of extra junk, you'll probably only have enough for either your sale or a homelessness sale, so make up your mind ahead of time. That said, there are some items that people just won't buy from a homeless person. Children's toys and clothing, magazines, and unidentified electronics might look a little sketchy (for various reasons) if they're just sitting out on the street, so limit what you donate to your new friends to things like books, small working electronic devices, kitchen items, and collectibles.
Set up somewhere visible where you know the police won't be bothered. In some areas, the cops are very strict about regulations, so if you need to, speak with them beforehand about what you're trying to do and see if you can't get permission. Lay out the merchandise and set up some sort of pricing system. Then, sit with your friend while people walk by and explain what you're doing and what the money will go towards.
If you're feeling super ambitious, try to organize a larger event involving more people. Get a large amount of donations together, and find an area where you can set up what will amount to be a community garage sale. Talk to homeless people around your area and ask them if they'd like to help out for a portion of the profits.
Want to help even further by advertising your homeless-helping sale for free to get more exposure? Visit GarageSaleCow.com and list the details at no cost to you, tapping into the nation's biggest garage sale website. And contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your story (and photos!) -- we'd love to tell it!