Care packages for the homeless can almost always be a beneficial gesture. Those who are homeless generally have very few belongings, and are also usually unable to replace items that are lost or stolen. Putting together care packages for the homeless can be a little bit challenging, however. After all, you are assembling a care package because you want to help someone who is homeless, while at the same time you realize that everything you give them needs to be both useful, and easy to carry while walking. If you wish to put together a care package for someone who is homeless and need ideas for what items to include, consider the following suggestions.
Socks – It’s very difficult for the homeless to replenish worn socks with fresh, clean ones. Can you imagine how uncomfortable and defeated you would feel if you couldn’t have something so basic as clean socks each day? One of the best things to include in a care package for a person who is homeless is as many pairs of socks as possible. Check out dollar stores, or even thrift stores for multiple pairs of low-cost socks.
Hygiene products – When assembling a care package for a person who is homeless, check out your local dollar store for low-cost hygiene items such as combs, hand sanitizer; deodorant; toothbrushes and toothpaste; soap and plastic soap travel containers; tissues; Q-tips; and washcloths.
First-Aid kits – Homeless people are more prone to infections of the skin considering they are exposed to the elements almost constantly. When preparing a care package for a person who is homeless, throw in first-aid items like antibacterial ointment and band-aids.
Items to protect against the cold – When you are preparing a care package for a person who is homeless and colder weather is not far off, try to include items to help them keep warm. Knit gloves, hats, and scarves can be found at your local dollar store. Scour thrift stores for lightweight long underwear, windbreakers, and coats. Check the camping section of discount stores like Wal-Mart for emergency heat reflecting survival blankets and rain ponchos. These last two items can be found for just a couple of dollars each.
Safety items – The harsh reality of life on the streets is that vulnerable individuals are often attacked and robbed. This is especially true of the homeless elderly. If you are putting together a care package for a person who is homeless, include if you can, light sticks; (a flashlight is impractical due to the fact that batteries will not always be able to be replaced when they run out, along with the fact that they are heavy); a whistle on a light chain or shoestring so it can be worn around the neck; and even defense items like pepper spray.
Shoes – If you happen to know the shoe size of the homeless person you are preparing the care package for, check thrift stores or yard sales (or your own closet) for a pair of gently used, comfortable walking shoes.
Lightweight snacks – Great items to include in a care package for a person who is homeless would be snacks like chewy granola bars (the crunchy kind will be tough on those with less-than-healthy teeth); individual bags of trail mix; protein bars; carnation instant breakfast bars; cereal bars; and dried fruits like yogurt raisins and apricots. You may want to include items like fruit cups and pudding cups, as well. These can get heavy though, so keep that in mind when deciding how many to include. Don’t forget to throw in a few plastic spoons!
Comfort items – A homeless person who receives a care package is likely very grateful for the necessities that are included. Consider cheering their day a little bit more by including a few comfort items like chocolate, and even stationery, stamped envelopes, and pens so that they can get a note to loved ones. You may even be able to pack a small, travel-sized pillow into your care package. If possible, consider adding gift cards that will enable the individual to obtain food at establishments that are easily accessible, such as McDonald’s or Subway.
Although a care package that you prepare for a person who is homeless will not solve their problems of lack of housing, it will make a few aspects of their daily life a little bit easier to face. Additionally, the fact that you took the time to care, and to treat them like a valuable human being, will hopefully help a little bit towards healing the emotional abuse that they endure from cruel individuals every day.