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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Week #8 "10 Week Countdown to World Homeless Action Day"

(Send Media Release September 12th /Post September 26th)

This week’s Big Idea: Create Care Kits

If you've ever been approached by a man, woman, or teenager who is experiencing homelessness, you may have felt uncomfortable about how to respond when asked for money. We recommend anticipating these opportunities. Make some care kits in advance to keep in your vehicle. These can be a good alternative for situations when giving money doesn't feel like the best option.

The following items can be placed in quart- or gallon-size Zip-Lock bags.

1. Socks

Homeless men and women spend a lot of time on their feet. A fresh pair of clean, dry socks can feel like heaven on tired feet. Throw in some band-aids to help ease the pain of blisters.

2. Reusable Water Bottle

Water brings relief, especially in hot weather. But instead of bottled water, consider a reusable bottle as an eco-friendly option.

3. Lotion

Lotion and lip balm are often welcome items. Anti-bacterial hand sanitizer can help when soap and water aren't available for washing hands.

4. Soap / Shampoo

Save the small unopened soap bars and shampoo bottles from your hotel visits. Their compact travel-size is convenient and light weight. Larger soap bars are great too. But if you're packing soap in a care kit, be aware that its scent can be absorbed by packaged snacks, making for a less-than-tasty treat.

5. Toothpaste / Toothbrush

6. Towel / Washcloth/ Disposable Wet Wipes

Showers aren't easy to come by for homeless men and women. A towel and washcloth are helpful for washing as best they can in a restroom.

7. Comb / Brush / Razor

Contrary to stereotypes, most homeless men and women prefer to stay clean and well-groomed.

8. Snacks

Add some packets of nuts, crackers, dried fruit, trail mix, granola bars, breakfast bars, instant noodles or other light-weight, quick snacks.

9. List of Resources

See Countdown Week #4 for a list of San Luis Obispo County resources for those who are experiencing homelessness and Week #10 for national resources. Make copies to hand out with your care kits.

10. Encouragement

All the items above are helpful, but the most meaningful part of a care kit is the opportunity for a conversation and friendship. Your smile and offer of help could be the encouragement a homeless man or women needs to make it through another day. Add an inspirational quote to the kit.

(credit: Portland Homeless Rescue Mission, Portland, Oregon USA - http://www.1010pdx.org/search/label/Top%2010 )

Blog Question: What items would you add to this list?

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