We can’t help EVERYONE, but everyone can help SOMEONE.
When I come across a person on a corner of a sidewalk holding up a sign asking for help, I always am scrambling before the light turns green to find cash, which I rarely carry or something that would be of use to them. Just last week, it finally rained in Southern California and I had a bunch of umbrellas in my car (the stock pile of $5.00 umbrellas from living in New York that I kept in my trunk finally came handy) and I found myself handing out umbrellas to these individuals as they stood there being rained upon.
The next day, I was inspired to do more and with a recent job and career change, I found I had some extra time on my hands. Never to stay idle too long, I took my volunteering experience of helping at various local shelters and drafted a list of items that I knew would be beneficial in a Hygiene Kit. Now, there are no right or wrong ways to put these kits together but a quick trip to the 99-Cent Store and the grocery store, I was able to pick up a majority of the items I wanted to put in my kits.
- Food Items: Non-Perishable individually packaged snacks are preferred. Since you’ll have these items in your car, try to avoid anything that melts (i.e. chocolate) and that may spoil during the current season. For food items, I placed them in a separate zip-lock sandwich bag just so it doesn’t get mixed in with the hygiene items. Also, be mindful of utensils that they would need to consume the food and don’t assume they’ll have these items. For my kits, I purchased the snacks from Aldi US Grocery Store:
- Cereal Bars
- Beef Jerky sticks
- Cheese & Crackers
- Applesauce with a plastic spoon and napkin (Food purchased at
- Other items that you can add are the “Lunch-2-Go” tuna and crackers packs (be sure they’re the pop-up lids so they don’t need to use a can opener), animal crackers cookies, crackers with peanut butter and/or cheese, fruit cups, and bottled water.
- Hygiene Items: I decided that I would go to the 99-Cent Store to buy a majority of the non-food items because they have a variety of items I could get at a lower-price but I was sure that I was picking up items that weren’t expired. Within these kits, I put together a “first-aide kit” by putting the following in a separate zip-lock snack bag:
- Individually packaged band-aides, wet wipes and alcohol prep pads, safety pins & a razor (separate zip-lock snack size bag)
- Toothbrush & Toothpaste with a plastic travel bag (99-cents for the kit)
- Bar of Soap (try to stay away from highly scented soap as it may affect the taste of the food, the bars of soap I bought was a 3-pack of Dial Hypoallergenic Soap which I divided for each pack)
- Wash Towel (an 8-pack for 99 cents)
- Facial Tissues (an 8-pack for 99 cents)
- Knitted Beanie
- Other items you can add are socks, underwear, gloves, plastic rain ponchos, sanitation napkins, tampons, travel-size shampoo, conditioners, lotion, sunscreen, and cough drops or mints, chapstick, a comb, and gift certificate/voucher to a fast food restaurant.
- Note of encouragement and/or a list of local shelters or organizations that could help them get back on their feet.
Once all these “mini-kits” were put together, I put everything in a 1-Gallon Size Zip-Lock Freezer Bag (a non-freezer bag works but I like using the freezer ones since they’re stronger and can be re-purposed). I added a note of encouragement and Ta-Da! this labor of love and kindness is complete! I keep a few of these in my trunk but I usually keep one kit under the seat or the glove box so it’s easy to access when I want to hand them out.
With the holiday season just around the corner, this is a great activity to get family and friends together and make these kits. My first haul made 30 hygiene kits but you can make as many as you want! I knew that I wanted involve others so I’m actually giving some kits to my family and friends to keep in their car to hand out while they’re out. It’s the gift that continues to give and it’s a perfect way to #ShareYourBlessedLife with others.
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