This article is written by Shari Medini
For more on this topic, check out the full Helping Others collection
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.
Co-Owner: Shari Medini
Shari Medini is the co-owner of the parenting website Adore Them. Her prior experience includes working as a marketing strategist and writer on multi-million dollar capital campaigns, website designs, advertising campaigns, and book launches. Shari’s parenting articles have been published in dozens of publications; and she enjoys doing various speaking engagements. When she’s not on her laptop, Shari can be found spending quality time with her husband and two sons exploring their hometown of Lancaster County, PA
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