Care kits for homeless individuals
Not sure what to do when you want to help? You can assemble and give away simple care kits using watertight, gallon-size zipper lock plastic bags filled with items such as:
- Water bottle
- Tuna and crackers
- Granola Bar or cereal bar
- Fruit snack or applesauce cup
- Crackers with peanut butter or cheese
- Gift certificate to fast food restaurant
- Hand wipes
- Pack of Kleenex
- Feminine hygiene products
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Nail clippers
- Band Aids
- Comb or small brush
- Mints, cough drops, or gum
- A card with information about the Orlando Union Rescue Mission
- A note of encouragement or uplifting Bible verse
Keep in mind:
- Fragranced items such as soap, hand lotion or deodorant can negatively affect the taste of food items if placed in the same bag. Pack these separately if you choose to give them.
- Avoid items such as mouthwash or hand sanitizer that contain alcohol.
- Have a care kit party! Gather family, friends, co-workers or your community group to purchase supplies and assemble kits together.
- Care kits are useful both in warm and cold weather. In summer, include sunblock or frozen bottles of water. In winter, include gloves, hats or heatpacks.
When giving the kits away:
- Don’t be in a hurry. It’s okay to slip it out your window to someone on a street corner or freeway ramp. But consider taking time to park the car and hand-deliver it.
- This person probably gets ignored by hundreds of people every day.
- Make eye contact. It shows that the person matters.
- Don’t give money. It’s your decision, of course, but we generally discourage giving cash. Instead, ask what their immediate need is and consider how you can help. Buy them a meal? A bus ticket?
- Be available to have a conversation. Some people won’t want to talk, so be sensitive. Others will be delighted to tell you their story.
- Before you go, while you go, for the people you encounter. Ask the person if they would like you to pray for them right there.
- Offer resources. Ask if the person knows about the Orlando Union Rescue Mission. Even if the Mission doesn’t offer the exact service someone needs, our staff can most likely refer the individual to other agencies that can help.
- Be wise. The majority of homeless men and women are not dangerous — they’re people just like you. But it’s smart to go out as a group when handing out Care Kits.
SOURCE: Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM) and the Portland Rescue Mission.