Everyone goes through rough patches. However, when you hit a stride of a good patch a great way to put out some good karma into the universe is giving back. Helping out those less fortunate than you. This can take place in many different ways like donating money, volunteering time, fundraising, etc. A good quick and easy way to give back is donating gifts and care packages to the less fortunate.
A special cause might be giving back to the homeless. The overall 0.2% homeless population might seem relatively low, but that’s 17 people for every 10,000 in the population. Especially if you consider that America has population around
329 million people. It adds up pretty quickly to about 64 million homeless people in the United States. Give a helping hand to help fight homlness by putting together a homeless care package.
1. A comforter/Sleeping bag
Since there may not be somewhere indoors for the homeless to get inside on cold winter days or even just chilly on windy summer nights a sturdy comforter can go a long way to provide heat and comfort. If it’s a warmer night it’s comfy to lay on top of. Also consider getting a sleeping bag instead of or in addition to. A sleeping bag can survive a lot of radical weather patterns like rain.
2. Hiking backpack
It's a convenient way to carry around all the stuff the recipient will get in the care package. Storage can be tricky for the homeless, but a good sturdy backpack is perfect to help carry supplies around.
3. A water bottle + chlorine tabs
Everyone could probably use a water bottle, but it’ll be great in a homeless care package. Resources can be scarice from time to time when you’re out on the streets, but by putting a water bottle and chlorine tabs in your care package you ensure that the receiver has a way to carry around basic life necessity and will have access to clean drinking water. The chlorine tablets will help purify any water to drinkable water. So even if there is no access to running water there is still a way to hydrate. Make sure you get chlorine tabs with instructions putting too much in or drinking the water before the 30 minute mark can be dangerous.
4. Foods + Cutlery
Giving food will also check another box key to survival. Try a mix of nonperishables and fruits. Nonperishables will last longer and fruits to help get some nutrients in for a balanced diet. Another important gift would be a reusable cutlery set for anything you might pack in there and it lifts a road blocks to eating or getting certain meals like soups. If you’re struggling with what kind of foods to but consider the follow:
- Canned foods- they have a long storage date so they make great for food reserves. Also remember to pack a can opener for any canned goods you might put in.
- Apples- Because an apple a day keeps the doctor away
- Beef Jerky- for a little bit of protein
- Oranges- to help get that vitamin C in and fight scurvy
- Seeds and nuts- they make for a good healthy snack
- A dessert- whether it be cookie, brownie, or anything it’s nice to have a little sweet treat every once in a while.
- Shelf stable or certain non-dairy milks- this will provide calcium to help ensure healthy bone structure. Last a long time unlike standard dairy milk. Plus milk could go great with the aforementioned dessert but as well as cereal! Another great nonperishable to go into the homeless care package
- Peanut Butter + Crackers- individually they are also both amazing items to put into the care package but together make for a strong combination snack. Filling and tasty Consider throwing a little bit of nutella too! It’s a great sweet treat!
- Soups- Soups are hearty meals, their generally long shelf and the perk of being a full meal is a great perk.
- Gift card to restaurant or a grocery store- This is a good way to provide a hot meal or get them the money needed to get some fresh groceries for themselves. A gift card gives just as much while leaving plenty of space in the care package for other necessities!
5. Personal Hygiene Supplies
Personal hygiene supplies are the perfect stuffer in the homeless care package. Sometimes it’s hard to think about these small personal necessities when a person’s basic needs aren’t being met. So consider putting some these hygiene essentials:
- Toothbrush + toothpaste- cavities and rotting teeth are health issue that is ideal to avoid
- Mini mouthwash + mouth wash- because even a little goes a long way with dental hygiene.
- Sunscreen + Aloe Vera- Sunburn is ideally avoidable, but when you’re outside a lot sometimes inevitable.
- Moisturizer- for the cold seasons and avoid further skin damage.
- Chapstick- dry lips are a natural enemy of all.
- Nail clippers + Tweezers- The luxuries you don’t know you have until it’s gone.
- Maxi pads or a Diva Cup- this one speaks for itself. Maxi pads are great, but only single use. Whereas Diva Cup is reusable.
- Wet wipes + sanitizer- to help keep everything clean.
- Tissues- it’s not easy being sneezy
- Shaving supplies- shaving cream, razors, some beard beard scissors, after shave and any other shaving supply you can think of.
- Deodorant + a gender neutral body spray- one can never have too much.
- Soap/body wash + shampoo- because cleanliness is key.
- A towel- to wash off and dry up with.
6. Things that go into a First Aid Kit
At first a kit in of itself would do, but this often a supply that people forget when donating to the homeless. Considering it’s relatively vital effect it could have it’s an important one not overlooked and try to give as much as possible with. Just to name a few medical supplies:
- Band-Aids- a vital products in protecting against infections
- Rubbing alcohol + antibiotic cream- important for sterilization of wounds.
- Cotton Balls + Cotton swabs- great for applying rubbing alcohol and antibiotic cream.
- Gloves- useful for a variety of reasons like avoiding cross contamination for one if you come across someone who needs help or a substitute if you run out of band-aids.
- Gauze + medical tape- for a wound that is too big for a band-aid to solve
- Tuna and Crackers packs- these go a few first aids meant to be a last resort of food supplies.
- A piece of chocolate and lollipops- for the possibly diabeti and hypoglycemic.
- Medical scissors- to help cut the gauze. Every piece of fabric counts.
- Thermometer- to monitor your temperature.
- Knee brace or wrist brace- because 33% of adults report having joint pain/issues at some point in a 30 day cycle.
- Icy Hots- for back pain troubles.
- A pack of warm hands- admittedly not necessarily a health aid, but still pretty useful for keeping warm.
- Eye drops- it can relieve symptoms of dry eye, itchy eyes, and stye pain.
- Cough Drops or mints- obviously to help reduce coughing fits.
Another great gift to put in the homeless care package because over the counter medicine isn’t something always affordable when living without a steady source of income especially if it is considered a “convenience drug” i.e medicines sold over the counter for nonlife threatening issues. Keep mind only over the counter drugs should be given. Things that require a doctor's prescription should only be taken by the person prescribed. Here a few common OTC medicines that might be a useful addition to your care package:
- Allergy medicine- a zyrtec or claritin could do wonders for the 6.1 million of the children population and 20 million of the adult population affected by garden variety outdoor allergies.
- Nasal spray- another thing good for allergies and sinus congestion.
- Vicks VapoRub- it’s good for breaking up congestion in the chest, coughing and getting rid of certain toenail fungus.
- Aspirin- good for aches and pains, but could also be helpful to a person having a heart attack.
- Tylenol or Ibuprofen- which is good for headaches, muscle aches, and reducing symptoms of fevers.
- Tums- for acid indigestion and heartburn.
- Excedrin- used to treat migraines.
- Midol- to alleviate symptoms of a menstrual cycle.
- Cold medicine- something to help get rid of the cold.
- Imodium- for when things are little backed up.
8. Clothing items
So it’s hard to guess what size your care package receiver might be, but there are few ways to work around this. First and foremost one of the most requested items in a homeless care package is socks. This is a pretty simple thing you can get in a multi-pack so there are plenty of socks to go around. Another great clothing gifts are scarfs, hats, and ear muffs to protect against the cold weather. Also you can get a little risky and try getting an oversized sweater or hoodie in. Since it’s fashionable to wear these items baggy it won't matter as much if they aren’t as form fitting.
9. Something for a little entertainment
Necessities are necessities for a reason, but what also matters is a quality of life. Pack in a little something to help pass the time. No one can maintain constantly working without taking breaks or stress relief so make sure to pack a little entertainment in your homeless care package. Something like a book, a facial mask, a handheld game, some playing cards, or anything that that brings relaxation into the world really
10. An encouraging note
This is a great way to pack a little extra care into your homeless care package. Times are obviously tough, but a little positivity can go a long way in anyone’s life. It;s definitely up there on the list of great gifts to give. That personal touch without a doubt will have a lasting impact.
Remember there is a lot here, but there’s no need to try to stuff everything into one care package there isn’t a basket big enough to fit all of that. These are just a few ideas for you to see as examples to follow or to make your own fun additions to. Every little bit helps.