One of our three official BWB SF projects is assembling and distributing care packages for homeless people! Check out the work that has already happened below. Join us on the Facebook page and sign up to volunteer or donate at the bottom of the page.
Make Your Own Care Packages!
Recommended Items To Include:
- Personal Safety
- Bivvys or Thermal Blankets: Today, the leading cause of death for unhoused people here in the richest city in the world is exposure to the elements. It’s cold out and several of the unhoused people I have recently talked to were asking for blankets. Using thermal bivvys or blankets has several advantages: they’re very warm, they pack easily, they’re waterproof, and since they are affordable for us, it’s easy to give out a lot of them.
- Tarps: Small like 4×6 and some cool earth tones that blend in for security.
- Backpacks: Police continue to steal vital supplies from unhoused people during covid, leaving them even more likely to die from exposure on top of the increased covid risk. Giving people a backpack is huge because it lets them keep their belongings together so they can quickly escape from police theft sweeps.
- Food and Water
- Granola bars/ soft and chewy foods: these are a vital part of the care packages because everyone needs to eat and even though it’s not going to feed them for long, at least it’s something. Avoid crunchy foods or nuts which can be hard on teeth.
- Fruit cups
- Applesauce for digestion
- Some kind of treat like M&Ms (Without nuts which can hurt teeth)
- Complete nutrition shake: This is a little pricey but I think it’s worth including something that can help fill unmet nutritional needs. These contain all the vitamins and minerals that people might be missing, so I have decided to include these in my care packages.
- Water bottle: Water is obvious. Everyone needs water and this is one of the cheapest items in the care packages.
- Hand sanitizer: These are the cheapest individual-sized hand sanitizer bottles I could find. These are also refillable.
- Disposable masks: Masks are only effective if they are clean. Reusable masks are great but without being able to wash them, they’re actually not any better. These ones cost about $0.25 each, so I include several of them in each care package. Several experts we talked to advised against including N95 masks because for most people they are not going to work any better than surgical masks unless they are being professionally fitted and the people are shaving daily. These surgical masks seem like the best option.
- Feminine hygiene products
- Toilet paper: This is an essential that can’t be left out.
- Wet wipes for bathing/toilet
- Oral Care
- Tooth brush
- Tooth paste
- Hand lotion
- Warm gloves
- Rain ponchos
Please send us your own tips as well as pictures of your project so we can share the knowledge to help others do the same.