One thing that you may not know about our family is that we are really passionate about caring for the homeless. Creating a homeless care package (also known as a Blessing Bag) can be one fantastic way that your entire family can be involved in caring for those in need.
Today we want to provide a checklist of supplies for the homeless, a local resources sheet you can print out (if you are in our area), and some tips for involving the whole family in this project.
These homeless care packages can be prepared for your local shelters or kept tucked away in the trunk of your car for those you may see on the street looking for your help. I love feeling armed in these situations and these kits are a simple way to show how much you care.
Over the past couple of years, I have also had the opportunity to work at one of our food pantries. What many people don’t realize is that many of these items cannot be purchased using food stamps. Items that are not food (like toothpaste, paper products, deodorant, shampoo, toothbrushes, etc…) are not eligible and that is why these items are often in high demand at church community pantries.
I wouldn’t be truthful if I didn’t tell you that my husband inspires me every day with his giving heart. Last winter, he was coming home late from work because he would see people in need and run to stores to get them supplies and gift cards.
That is his heart.
That is why I love him.
If there is one thing I firmly believe in, it is that giving should be a family affair. We have to lead our children by our example. I want my children to remember that what made our family special is that we always gave with our whole hearts.
My kids assisted in every aspect of this project. My son came with me and did the number crunching on a good old-fashioned calculator, my daughter helped sort and organize all of the items we bought, and both kids helped fill the bags with all of the necessary items.
Here Are My 3 Essential Elements to a Great Homeless Care Package
Feed Their Needs- One of the greatest gifts you can give to someone who is homeless is personal hygiene items and food to nourish their bodies. Begin by picking up items that will satisfy this area in their life first. Simple items like shampoo, a razor, deodorant, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb, a bar of soap, and tissues are great items to keep on hand.
Food like granola bars, crackers with peanut butter, trail mixes, dried fruits, and a bottle of water are also great items to tuck into your bags. If you have the funds, small denominator gift cards (we did $5 Walmart gift cards) can also be great to give so that they can pick up a meal or item(s) they might need.
Provide Warmth- We live in Indiana and the winters here are brutal. I can’t imagine how cold it would be to stand on the streets without the proper items I need for warmth. Add items like thermal boot socks, gloves, scarves, and hats to your gift bags. Items like these may seem out of your financial reach, but I found all of these at the dollar store and the sets of gloves were a mere $.50 each.
Feed Their Souls- I am sure it goes without saying, but feeding someone’s soul is just as important as feeding their needs. You can feed their souls in a variety of ways depending on your families beliefs and resources. We created a local resources list (available for local residents to download) that they can tap into for further resources in our town. A note that lets them know that they are on your prayer list, a note of encouragement by your children, or a scripture that you find comforting can also be excellent additions.
If these are not enough ideas, I encourage you to spend a bit of time browsing through the comments on this post. Many people regularly volunteer at the shelters or have put these together regularly and offer some really sound advice on ways to help.
Please also know, that we are real people (sometimes that doesn’t seem that way on the website, am I right?) and we did OUR personal best to put these together so we appreciate your KIND words on this post and definitely encourage you to share your own must-have items in a care package while being respectful of others in these comment threads.
Please know that you can purchase items from Dollar Tree IN BULK. If you didn’t know that, head over to their site and place an order for your homeless care packages. We were able to order and pick up the items we needed for these kits from our local store or you can have them shipped directly to you! How cool is that?
God has been so good to us, but 10 years ago we were in a very different place than where we are now. My husband was unemployed for almost an entire year, our financial situation was a house of cards, and my heart was in a bad place. Although I don’t like to admit it, I wondered what my purpose on this earth even was. I never have forgotten that dark place and it is why we still try to be so careful with the resources we have been given and why I have such a tender place in my heart for those who are struggling.
If you would like to read more about it, I encourage you to read my book where I share how we recovered from this difficult financial period in our life.
Being careful though doesn’t mean that you can’t be a giver. There are fantastic ways to give, both big and small, around the holidays. Be sure to check our list of ten painless ways to give back to charities to help you get started. I call these smaller ways to give the, “scraps of life giving.” I have talked a lot about that with my partnership with Pure Charity as well!
We want to help you give back to your community! Here are some resources to do just that!
Grab our Free Homeless Supply Checklist for your your care packages. Don’t just click on the picture, head to this link to grab a full-size PDF version!
Grab our Local Resources List for your care packages (if you don’t live in Michiana, you can use this as a template for your own sheet)! Don’t just click on the picture, head to this link to grab a full-size PDF version!
How do you give back in your community? How do you teach your kids to be givers?
I am a part of the Walmart Moms program, and Walmart has provided me with compensation for these posts. For this project, all compensation was invested in aiding our area homeless. My participation is voluntary and opinions are always my own.