It is very important to put together care kits for the homeless throughout the winter months; however, it is also helpful to create and hand out care kits for the spring and summer months. There are unique challenges that come with the heat and harsh sunshine, and; there are ways that we can give our support to the homeless within our own communities.
According to the MSW online program, SocialWork@Simmons, more than half a million Americans were homeless last year and 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, and; heat stroke.
Long-term housing is obviously the best-case solution for homelessness, and it is important to support these types of efforts through advocacy and 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 and begin making a difference.
How to Create a Care Kit for the Homeless
- Throw a Care Kit Party - Invite friends, family, and coworkers over to help assemble care kits. You will be able to put more kits together and 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, and 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 and Water - Include individually wrapped and nonperishable foods that will be healthy and sustaining - things like granola bars, crackers, dried fruit, and 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, and; items to help treat foot ailments are helpful.
- Take Note of the Season - For your spring and summer care kits, you will want to focus on sun protection and hydration - hats, sunscreen, plenty of water, lip balm, etc. Obviously, winter kits will require some different necessities.
- Find and 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 and resources. Do some research and include resources to help people find resources in your local area.