It is very important to put together care kits for the homeless throughout the winter months; however, it is also helpful to create & hand out care kits for the spring & summer months. There are unique challenges that come with the heat & harsh sunshine, & there are ways that we can give our support to the homeless within our own communities.
According to this article more than half a million Americans were homeless last year & 36% of those were families with children. The summer months can make homeless individuals increasingly vulnerable to health risks such as severe sunburn, dehydration, heat exhaustion, & heat stroke.
Long-term housing is obviously the best-case solution for homelessness, & it is important to support these types of efforts through advocacy & donations to local organizations. However, creating care kits can also be beneficial as a form of short-term help. These are a great way to get involved right now & begin making a difference.
How to Create a Care Kit for the Homeless
Putting together care kits can be a wonderful way for you & your family to get involved in helping the homeless. Here are a few steps that you can take to put together & deliver season appropriate kits...
- Throw a Care Kit Party - Invite friends, family, & coworkers over to help assemble care kits. You will be able to put more kits together, & it will establish a great, supportive atmosphere.
- Consider What Will Help - If you left your home, what would you need to bring with you? What would you want to stay comfortable? What would you need to keep your self-respect? These are the tough questions that we do not always think about, but are a harsh reality for homeless every day.
- Focus on Hygiene Basics - Again… think about the things that we take for granted. Brushing our hair, brushing our teeth, washing our face, putting on deodorant, shaving, & clipping our nails. Get miniature versions of these items that would be easy to carry around with you to add to the homeless care kit.
- Include Food & Water - Include individually wrapped & nonperishable foods that will be healthy & sustaining - things like granola bars, crackers, dried fruit, & trail mix can be good. Be sure to include some bottled water as well.
- Don’t Forget First-Aid Supplies - Simple first-aid is commonly out of reach for many homeless individuals so it is important to include basic medical supplies in the care kits. Band aids, antibiotic ointment, tissues, & items to help treat foot ailments are helpful.
- Take Note of the Season - For your spring & summer care kits, you will want to focus on sun protection & hydration - hats, sunscreen, plenty of water, lip balm, etc. Obviously, winter kits will require some different necessities.
- Find & Include Resources - Care kits are a great way to meet short-term needs of homeless individuals; however, these items alone are not going to help people overcome homelessness. These are serious issues that require the help of expert services & resources. Do some research & include resources to help people find resources in your local area.
For more specific ideas of what to include & what not to include, read this Guide to Supporting the Homeless as well.