What to give to the person on the streets?

As the weather gets colder and you see more homeless folks outside holding “please help” signs, you may want to respond by directly giving them a few basic necessities.

We were recently asked what items should be included in a “blessing bag.” I took this question directly to the homeless and ex-homeless people that Speak Up works with. Here is their list of things that they say would help them if they were still on the streets:

PRIORITY ITEMS

  • Socks
  • Foot Powder (small container)
  • Refillable Water bottle
  • 16 oz water bottle(s)
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Non-perishable snacks like crackers and nuts
  • Hand sanitizer

ALSO CONSIDER INCLUDING

  • Nail clippers
  • Small Bible
  • Comb or Brush
  • Soap, wash cloth
  • Shampoo
  • Toilet paper

Another option is mouthwash — but make sure it is a kind that doesn’t contain alcohol.

Once you’ve assembled some of these things (the local dollar store is a great place to find them), then put them in a sturdy plastic bag and give the bag to someone facing homelessness. I also suggest adding a handwritten note with a word of encouragement or hope.

If you want to add a little extra, consider a Walmart Gift card. Walmart has a special “restricted” card that can’t be used to purchase alcohol or tobacco, which we recommend.

(If in the Charlotte area, please include a slip of paper with Speak Up’s address and the encouragement for them to come by “Thursdays at 2PM” for the training and writing workshop.)

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