A Heart to Give : Homeless Winter Care Packages
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If you are like me, nothing makes you want to a be a better person more than watching your children connect strongly with charity and helping others. My son’s passion inspires me, and one mission he connected strongly with is the homeless. It’s also a mission that you can contribute to year-round, although you’ll see a lot of requests especially around the holidays.
A super easy way to get started is to put together homeless blessing bags or homeless care packages. We started over 4 years ago and usually prep 10-20 homeless care bags at a time. This gives you the chance to change up the contents pretty regularly. The latest package was inspired by a ride in a local Christmas parade. Last winter, my mom bought some Hothands for my son to hold while on the float, and he came to me with the idea to include them in his homeless winter care packages for the season. With that idea, we started brainstorming other items we could include to help the protect against the cold. If you’d like other ideas for how to get your kids involved in charity, you can find some good ideas here.
What are in our Homeless Blessing Bags?
There are several different routes you can take with your DIY homeless care packages. You should aim to keep it light as they will have to carry them around. It’s also a good idea to try to make the bag something that can be used as well, like a ziplock bag or a small water-resistant grocery bag. There are three basic needs that you can try to cover with your bags : protection from the elements (Cold and Hot), hygiene, and nutrition. Here are a few examples:
Cold Weather Protection
For the winter, we include items to help protect against the elements. You can find almost everything we included on Amazon:
- Gallon Ziploc Bag
- 4 Hothands Hand Warmers
- 2 pairs Hothands In-Sole Warmers
- 2 Survival Blankets
- 1 pair of Socks
- 2 Bottled Waters
- 1 Toothbrush
- 1 Tube Toothpaste
Nutrition and Hygiene Blessing Bags for the Homeless
If you are packing bags to provide food and hygiene, these are a few things to take into consideration:
- Make sure cans are pop-tops and don’t need a can opener.
- Make sure foods are soft as a lot of the homeless have problems with their teeth.
- Stay away from mouth-wash or cold medicines that have alcohol in them.
Again, a lot of this can be found on Amazon, but we also use the local Dollar Tree for a lot of our purchases. We’ve found Dollar Tree has better prices on a lot of the canned goods. You can also check your local grocery store deals. You can find many items there that are perfect for your bags. For food and hygiene based homeless care package ideas, these are great options:
- 2 Bottles of Water
- 2 Cans of Vienna Sausages for Protein
- Fruit Cocktail or Raisins
- Antibiotic Ointment
- Feminine Hygiene products
Putting together a homeless care package can be great way to help your kids make a difference. Allowing them to help come up the homeless bag ideas also gives them a sense of ownership and means that much more when they see the impact it has for someone. We have encountered scenarios where someone didn’t want our blessing bag, and that is an important lesson for the kids as well. You can’t always control how someone else uses your gift or if they choose not to. You can only control what is in your heart, and if it’s in your heart to give, then do it.
To distribute the bags, we actually carry them in a box in the car so we have them ready if people need them. If you are struggling with what to put in a homeless care package, these are some great options:
- Weather Protection
- Hot Hands for hands and feet
- Emergency Blankets
- First Aid Kit
- Vienna Sausages
- Fruit Cocktail
- Slim Jim
- Chicken or Tuna Salad
- Soft bristle Toothbrush
- Antibiotic ointment
- Feminine Hygiene Products