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6 Surprising Reasons Why People Experiencing Homelessness Need Gift Cards for the Holidays


Giving the perfect holiday gift is so satisfying, which is why every year MCCH publishes a wish list for all of our clients. There’s one gift that many clients ask for and rarely gets fulfilled: gift cards.

We know that giving a gift card may not elicit the same warm, fuzzy feelings as giving someone an item that was chosen specifically for them, but we’ll let you in on a little secret: our clients LOVE gift cards.

Here are six reasons why this simple item is the ultimate holiday gift for our clients.

  1. Gift cards can be used to buy presents for children or other family members. Giving gifts is a luxury most people experiencing homelessness are not able to afford. Gift cards allow our clients to pick out special gifts for their own loved ones.
  2. They can be used to buy groceries or other household items. No one is asking Santa for groceries, but they are still a necessity! Gift cards can help our clients beyond the holiday season, whether they need food, clothes, or household items.
  3. Some clients are saving up for bigger purchases. After moving into a new home, our clients can feel isolated. Many of them have no link to the outside world because electronics such as televisions or computers are rarely donated. A gift card can help someone reach their goal of buying a more expensive item.
  4. Gift cards allow clients to try on and choose their own clothes. Would you rather ask a stranger for a pair of jeans in your size or visit a store to find the perfect fit? Most of us would want the chance to choose our own clothes. Gift cards give our clients the opportunity to have control over this aspect of their lives.
  5. They can help clients connect with others. Most of our clients have prepaid cell phones, but they don’t always have money to use them. Visa gift cards can be used to buy phone minutes, which allow our clients to connect with family members or service providers.
  6. Gift cards simply give them the gift of choice. While experiencing homelessness, our clients have very few choices. Almost everything they receive is donated, whether it’s the food they eat or the clothes they wear. The gift of choice is something many clients value, far more than any object.


When you’re signing up to donate to our holiday giving program, please consider choosing to give a gift card. It means a lot more than you think.

Sign up to provide gifts for our holiday gift drive. If you’ve already given a gift, check out more ways you can spread joy to MCCH clients this holiday season.


Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless (MCCH) is a non-profit with the mission to provide solutions in Montgomery County to ensure that homelessness is rare, brief, and nonrecurring. Learn more about MCCH.

2 Responses

  1. Ryan Bilodeau
    | Reply

    The MCCH is doing a great job. Thanks for posting this article. I started The Gift Card Project for the very reasons you suggested. Gift Cards allow the homeless to buy necessary items like food, clothes and medicine. What we ask our Gift Card Project ambassadors to do is not only give the gift cards to the homeless, but also to have conversations with them. Anyway if you ever wanted to work together or if anyone reading this wants to take up this important work in their own community, please check us out at http://giftcardproject.com.

    • Maggie McGill
      | Reply

      We’re so glad this blog post spoke to you! Thanks for reaching out, we’ll check out your website and be in touch if we’re interested!

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