What is it?
The basic idea behind these kits is to provide someone with some basics if they are turned away from a refuge.
The inspiration for the kits came from two videos I saw. One had a man giving away backpacks to homeless people. The other showed how a couple in the USA were creating backpacks to give away for around $20.
I had been putting together some basic hygiene packs for women’s refuges and saw this video as a step in the right direction to helping out more people. The pivotal moment for me was when they talked about getting second hand back packs and that this was actually better than sourcing new ones as they wouldn’t be as attractive to thieves.
How to do it:
Personally, I would find it confronting for both parties to just hand a backpack full of stuff to someone. Instead, I rang local homelessness services to identify if there were people in need, how many and what (specifically) they might need.
Source backpacks (and other items??)
Although I originally rang Vinnies to ask them to put backpacks aside for me, I found it was actually much easier to ask friends and neighbours. I intend to put up a note in the local school as well.
I started looking at how to get some basics for $20. I also spoke with people who work with the homeless about what they thought would be useful.
Through bulk buying, shopping at Aldi and relying on donations, this is what I’ve been able to get for around $20 per pack:
Toothpaste (sample size)- ask the local dentist for a few.
The pack should not include razors or spray deodorants.
Food needs to be sealed, long dated, easy to open without the use of tools (like a can opener) and should include a spoon or utensil to eat with.
Can of Corn
A small rug, throw or blanket (this one is from K-Mart for $5). Gently used, clean items are also good.
A plastic mac
Hand –towel or face washer
Gloves (through donations)
Beanie (through donations- not pictured)
Make up one or make up one a month! Good luck!