How to Make DIY Homeless Survival Kits
Published July 9, 2020
People become homeless for a variety of reasons. Most of which stems from circumstances that are beyond their control. So instead of judgment and derision, these people need our understanding and compassion.
Even if you’re no Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates, you can still help end homelessness. A little help can go a long way. You can volunteer in homeless shelters or soup kitchens. Or donate to charities that are helping the homeless.
If any of the above isn’t an option, you can always make DIY homeless survival kits.
What is a Homeless Survival Kit?
When you’ve lost everything, your job, home, and the life you’ve carefully built, even the smallest things matter. A single sandwich or a bottle of water can be a lifeline.
This is what homeless survival kits are for our brothers and sisters who find themselves in such unfortunate circumstances. Most of the time, it’s all they have. And it’s the only thing that keeps them from freezing or starving to death.
There is no standard for homeless kits. But there are several considerations you need to make.
First off, most homeless people don’t have a steady place to stay. They move from one place to another. Thus, homeless kits must not be too bulky. They need to be able to carry it with them easily. It’s basically what its name suggests: “survival” kit. Only include essentials that will last them for a few days to a week at most. If you don’t have the funds, even just a day’s worth of essentials will do.
Another thing you need to consider is the material you pack the goods in. Remember that homeless people have to brave all kinds of weather while sleeping rough. They need to contend with rain, snow, and if their luck really runs out, storms and hurricanes. Through all that, there’s no assurance that they’ll find a shelter where they can keep warm and dry.
If you pack your donations in a paper bag, it won’t stand the rain or snow. So if you can, place the goods in a water-resistant and durable material that they can carry around. Most people use ziplock bags but if you don’t have one, any plastic or waterproof bag will do.
What to Pack
According to a formerly homeless mom, most survival kits contain things that the homeless don’t need nor want. So give a little thought to the things you pack. Make sure they can use it.
To give you an idea, here are the basic things to include in homeless care packs.
Winters are especially challenging for people sleeping on the streets. If you have spare socks or a blanket, it would make a world of difference for them.
Aside from winter clothes, you can also give out used clothes that they can wear to work or school. Yes, some homeless people have jobs too. They just don’t earn enough to afford rent. Some are also actively looking for jobs and they can use those clothes during interviews.
When packing foods for the homeless, you need to keep in mind that they don’t have anywhere to cook. So pack food items that are ready-to-eat but will last for days. This includes:
- peanut butter
- cup noodles
- bottled water
- instant coffee packets
- granola bars
- instant oatmeal packets
- dried fruits
- individually wrapped chocolates
- crackers and biscuits
- canned soup (with pop top lids in case a can opener is not available)
First Aid Items
Though not commonly included in care bags, homeless people need first aid items too. Living rough makes them more prone to situations that necessitate first aid. You can include items like:
- Tylenol or Advil
- antibacterial wipes
- lip balm/petroleum jelly
- gauze bandage
Being homeless doesn’t mean they have to look the part too. They’re still human beings after all. That’s why you should throw in some personal hygiene items in the kit too such as:
- toilet paper
- disposable razor
- stick deodorant
- facial wipes
Aside from food, clothing, and toiletries, homeless people also need certain tools like:
- can opener
- paracord rope
Aside from all of the above, it doesn’t hurt to include extra items such as:
- personal notes of encouragement
- supermarket coupons
- restaurant gift cards
What Not to Pack
For their safety and for that of the community as well, these items should never be included in a homeless survival pack:
- sharp or bladed objects
Keeping all these in mind, it’s quite easy to make a DIY homeless survival kit. You don’t have to spend more than you can afford. Just grab some food items in your pantry, some old clothes, and extra toiletries. Put them in a ziplock bag and give it to a homeless person you see on the street. It may not be much but they’ll surely appreciate the gesture.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a full time blogger and is devoted to topics about charity, kindness, and Christianity. She is part of the Correct Digital, Inc SEO team, which is paid by private donors to provide website digital marketing services to this non-profit organization.