Hi friends. BWB/SF Co-Lead CJ here,
These care package groups usually include a few essentials in a plastic bag which can quickly and easily be handed to unhoused people. As part of co-founding the first bay area chapter of Burners Without Borders, one of the initial projects we wanted to do is launch a new care packages group in the bay area and then branch out into multiple subgroups to serve a larger area.
Because of covid, all of our projects were put on hold as we refactor and struggle personally to adapt to this year’s rapidly changing conditions and rapidly overlapping disasters.
Changes This Time
We think this project can safely go ahead with a few simple changes.
First, the items in the care packages will need to be updated to reflect the current disasters, namely smoke and covid.
Second, the way we build the care packages needs to change. Since we can’t gather together, we will need to assemble the packages separately. This feels different to many of the people I’ve talked to, but really it’s not different. In the past, we have always had each person bring maybe a hundred of one item (ie water bottles) and then everyone mixes their items together into all the bags, and finally we all take a small portion of the completed bags. The only difference now is that we will simply each buy all the items for a smaller number of bags. The amount we each pay will be about the same or maybe even less.
Third, we need to safely distribute the bags. I have tried several methods and it’s actually very easy to do this. Simply approach the person and set the bag down a safe distance away, explaining that it contains food and water for them, and then walk away. It’s not as awkward or uncomfortable as it sounds, and based on the feedback from many past partners, this will probably feel even more comfortable for them than actually handing the bags to people.
I’m doing a test run to see how cheaply I can put the bags together. Then we will make adjustments before launching the larger next-phase of the project. Stay tuned for Zoom link and other details. Please use the form at the bottom of this page to sign up if you’d like to be invited and informed as more details come out about this project!
Check out the longer post on my blog including the work I’m doing to test small individual batches of care packages and what items I’ve found to include.