“Show You Care” Kits for the Homeless
Care kits are made up of personal hygiene items, food, and other resources that are helpful for those struggling with homelessness. Organise a group to assemble the packs and either distribute these directly or donate the packs to local homeless agencies.
Assembling your care kits with others not only helps create a great atmosphere, it also multiplies the number of kits you can put together. So throw a “Show you Care Kit Party” and invite your family, friends, and co-workers. Make sure to let everyone in the group know what supplies to collect (see our list below for suggestions). Mitzvah Day is an ideal time to do this as homelessness is often on the forefront of everyone’s minds during this time of the year.
When deciding on items to include in your kits it’s a good idea to ask yourself the following question:
If this was you, what would help you to preserve your dignity?
A well thought out care kit can go beyond addressing simple needs and wants by helping people to keep their self-respect.
A helpful exercise to define “the basics” is running through your own morning routine: What do you need to do each day before you leave home?
Part of the difficulty of being homeless is the necessity to carry all of your belongs on your person at all times. With this in mind, try to use travel-size products for your kit whenever possible.
Suggested items: Large Ziplock bag, toothbrush, toothpaste, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, flannel, comb, hair brush, cotton swabs, deodorant, lip balm, nail clippers, nail file.
Do NOT include: Any products that contain alcohol, like certain mouthwashes and hand sanitizers.
First aid is often out of reach for many homeless people, so try to include some include basic medical supplies.
Suggested items: Plasters, bandages, antibiotic creams, tissues.
Other useful items to include are: Refillable water bottles, warm socks, gloves, hats.
Think about creating kits gender specific kits, labelled accordingly, and include items such as shaving cream and feminine hygiene products.
Add a personal note, a drawing or a poem.
After you’ve finished assembling your care kits, the last and most important step is delivering it. It is paramount that you offer your kit with genuine warmth. As we’ve mentioned, retaining one’s dignity is an often-unacknowledged challenge of homelessness, but you can help the recipient of your care kit overcome this struggle by recognizing his or her humanity. Greet them with a smile, explain your intentions, learn their names, and listen to their stories. This interaction is undoubtedly the most vital component of any care kit.