If you’re looking for a way to do your own charitable act every day, there is a simple and effective way to help out the homeless community in your town. For most homeless people, money or food is an amazingly helpful thing, but if you’d like to step it up and really make a difference a homeless care package is an inexpensive gift you can keep with you in your car or backpack that is ready whenever you see someone in need.
Getting a full belly is extremely important to those who are homeless; however, many people don’t realize that there is a certain sense of pride and dignity one can gain from being clean and having personal items. You can really brighten someone’s day by showing them you care with just a few personal care and hygiene items along with some snacks.
We’ve compiled a list of items for your own homeless care pack that are all available at most dollar stores, grocery stores or large chains such as Wal-Mart or Target. Dollar Tree even has plenty of ides for making a care package.
To start with, you’ll need something to put all of the items into. Most homeless people are probably carrying around a small chunk of personal things – but it is so hard to try to carry everything you own all day everyday. We recommend placing everything into a cheap backpack – most of which can be bought on sale right after school starts. If you’d like to make more care packages and need to save the money for items to put inside, reusable $1 grocery sacks and even 1 gallon ziploc bags will do the trick.
Some of the most important items to include are things like:
-A reusable water bottle
-Tuna and Cracker packages – great source of protein and doesn’t spoil quickly
-Applesauce or fruit cups – you can get these especially cheap in 6 packs and at the dollar store
-Sanitizing Hand Wipes for hygiene
-Granola or cereal bars – keeps you feeling full for cheap
-Travel sized (or full) deodorant
-Maxi Pads – for women (definitely an overlooked item)
If you’re in colder climates or it’s winter:
-Socks, socks, socks – we can’t stress that enough, these wear so easily
-Gloves, or mittens
For warmer weather:
-Frozen bottles of water – if you’re headed straight to give them out
Extras to include:
-A local guide to resources in the area – you can look these up and print it yourself
-Gift Certificates/Cards to sandwich shops, or wherever they can get the most bang for their buck
-First Aid kit
Portland Rescue Mission recommends that you remember to offer words of encouragement and make eye contact. All too often, they are not treated like people and are overlooked or ignored, by simply acknowledging this person you are telling them they matter and giving them respect. Be available to have a conversation as well, some people will want to tell you their story, others won’t. If you don’t feel comfortable handing these out personally, you can always drop them off at your local homeless shelter, they would be very appreciative of any assistance.