Care Kits are a simple way to provide practical help to a homeless man or woman. Keep some in your car so you’re prepared to offer to a person in need.
Items to Include:
A typical Care Kit consists of a watertight gallon-size zipper lock plastic bag filled with items like:
- Water bottle
- Tuna and crackers
- Granola Bar or cereal bar
- Fruit snack or applesauce cup
- Crackers with peanut butter or cheese
- Gift certificate to fast food
- Hand wipes
- Pack of Kleenex
- Maxi pads
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Nail clippers
- Band Aids
- Comb or small brush
- Mints, cough drops or gum
- Rescue Mission meal voucher
- Note of encouragement or uplifting Bible verse
- Fragranced items such as soap, hand lotion or deodorant can negatively affect the taste of food items if placed in the same bag. Pack these separately if you choose to give them.
- Avoid items such as mouthwash or hand sanitizer that contain alcohol.
- Have a Care Kit party! Gather family, friends, co-workers or your community group to purchase supplies and assemble Care Kits together.
- Care Kits are useful both in warm and cold weather. In summer, include sunblock or frozen water bottles. In winter, include gloves, hats or heatpacks.
When you give your Care Kits away…
- Don’t be in a hurry. It’s okay to slip it out your window to someone on a street corner or freeway ramp. But consider taking time to park the car and hand-deliver it.
- Smile. This person probably gets ignored by hundreds of people every day.
- Make eye contact. It shows that the person matters.
- Don’t give money. It’s your decision, of course, but we generally discourage giving cash. Instead, ask what their immediate need is and consider how you can help. Buy them a meal? A bus ticket?
- Be available to have a conversation. Some people won’t want to talk, so be sensitive. Others will be delighted to tell you their story.
- Pray. Before you go, while you go, for the people you encounter. Ask the person if they would like you to pray for them right there.
- Offer resources. Ask if the person knows about Portland Rescue Mission. Be sure they know about meals, shelter, restrooms and other emergency services available. Our Guest Relations staff can often help guide a person to other social services they may not know about.
- Be wise. The majority of homeless men and women are not dangerous — they’re people just like you. But it’s smart to go out as a group when handing out Care Kits.
- Inspire others. Share your story of handing out Care Kits with us. Email us at [email protected]