What to Give the Homeless in the Summer: 10 Homeless Outreach Ideas
Any season is a good season to donate time and resources for the local homeless community. Many people and organizations focus their homeless outreach efforts during the fall and winter, as the colder weather makes needs more apparent. However, providing support is just as important in the summer — especially since this is the time of year when the homeless are most likely to be overlooked.
If you’re making a summer care kit for the homeless in your area, DollarDays has some tips on what to include. The items below are some of the most needed and requested by homeless shelters and programs. Many of them are also excellent donations to soup kitchens, women’s shelters and church groups. Whether you’re donating to the local shelter, putting together a Good Samaritan blessing bag at Sunday school or organizing a private donation drive, these suggestions will make your homeless care package even more appreciated.
Bottled Water & Beverages
The need for clean water is ever-present in the homeless community. When the hot summer sun is beating down, that need is even more important. Including bottled water will help quench their thirst on the most grueling days. Other beverage and drink mixes such as instant milk, Gatorade packets and lemonade mixes can provide added nutrition or just add some flavor for the kids.
Reusable Water Bottles
Displaced people are constantly on the move, and they need to be able to bring their water. A reusable drink bottle allows them to bring beverages to more places and is also more durable than a store-bought plastic water bottle. Furthermore, whenever they have access to a water source such as a spigot or hose, a large water bottle allows them to fill up and have some water for later.
Owning easy-to-eat healthy food snacks is essential for those who don’t know when their next full meal might be. Some great options that have needed nutrients don’t require refrigeration include cereal, meat snacks (beef jerky, beef sticks, etc.), granola bars and nuts. Kids will love crackers, fruit snacks and other goodies. These snacks usually come in single-serving packets, which reduce the chances of them going back and make them easier for homeless shelters to pass out.
Paper Plates & Utensils
Everyone needs a clean surface to eat their food. The homeless usually don’t have a place to wash traditional glass or ceramic dishes — and these things have a higher risk of getting broken. Therefore, single-use tableware is much-needed. Paper plates, paper cups, plastic silverware, napkins and other disposable dinnerware makes it easier to serve meals.
Skin Care Products
The summer weather doesn’t just make people thirsty. It also can be brutal on the skin. Sunscreen will help prevent burns for those who don’t have access to shade. Meanwhile, some bug spray is great to prevent getting gobbled up by flies and mosquitoes. Those who already have burns and bites will appreciate aloe vera relief gels, calamine lotion and other treatments.
Personal Hygiene Products
If a down-and-out person is able to land a job interview, or if they’re a young kid attending school, looking presentable is a big deal. Products such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, bar soap, shaving supplies and deodorants help them take care of their personal appearance. You might even consider a complete men’s or women’s hygiene and dental kit with all the personal care basics. Travel-size hygiene products are excellent for those who may only have a small bag for carrying everything.
The biggest thing some homeless people need is a good pair of shoes. Owning decent footwear will protect their feet from hot pavement, rain and debris such as rocks or broken glass. Something as simple as a pair of flip-flops or slip-on shoes can be a game-changer for someone who spends most of their time outside.
Hats & Headwear
A good hat serves two purposes in a Good Samaritan supply bag. For starters, it helps keep the hot sun out of their eyes and face. Hats also help keep hair organized for those who rarely, if ever, can afford to get it cut or styled. Practical options include baseball caps, sun hats, bucket hats, plastic visors and bandanas.
Umbrellas & Rain Gear
The humid weather of summer often leads to heavy rainstorms. Affordable rain gear for the homeless will help keep them dry and prevent their possessions from getting ruined. Umbrellas, rain ponchos and rubber rain boots are a godsend for many people. An umbrella can also protect them from the sun when it comes back out.
Toys & Activities
People of all ages can use a fun way to pass the time. Small kid’s toys such as stuffed animals, coloring books, cars, jump ropes, balls and modeling clays provide hours of fun. Educational toys continue children’s development so they don’t fall behind at school. Adults like activities, too, and they’ll enjoy a good deck of playing cards, puzzle book, dice set or chess board.
DollarDays is proud to partner with nonprofits, schools and other organizations that strive to make a difference through summer homeless outreach. Give our team a call to learn how we can help make your homeless care package ideas a reality.
Call our Team Today! (888) 969-6301.