011I recently posted about a pay-it-forward moment I had a few days ago. As I noted in that post, the homeless man and his two dogs have been on my mind since. I did some online research for ideas and then set out to create a care package for him and his dogs.

First, when I began to gather items for the care package, I considered bulk and weight and the usefulness of each item. As I have already interacted with this man, I know a few things about him like his size and that he has a shopping cart to store some items. I tailored the care package for him and his dogs. If you’re inspired to make a care package for a homeless person, the lists below are a good guide for items of personal care, warmth, and nurishment.

Second, in Sacramento (where I live), I’ve observed when arrested, homeless persons  often lose their belongings when they’re only stored in a shopping cart or such. If they have a suitcase or backpack, those are taken with them into custody. As such, I wanted to supply him with a few bags or backpacks. I checked around the house and found two I could spare – an Eastpack daypack and a water-proof REI bag (about the size of medium-sized purse) with lots of zippers and storage space; both are in very good shape without rips, tears, and all zippers work well.

I chose the smaller bag to become a one-stop shop for personal hygiene, first aid kit for humans and dogs, and other small items. All told, I spent 60 dollars on this care package. Now, that’s a significant amount given I’m out of work. I’ll need to skip a few outings with friends, but ultimately, in the scheme of things, it’s really  not a lot of money.

If you look at the picture above and the list below, you may be surprised how much I was able to fit into the two bags. It took careful packing, no doubt. Lastly, I wrote him a short note which included a list of the items in the care package. I found this suggestion during my online research. If you’re including new (or newer items and/or backpacks, etc) it’s good to list these. If the homeless person is approached by police, they can provide the note to show they did not steal any of the items.

Smaller bag:

– Small LED bike light with 12 extra AA batteries
– Large tube of Neosporen
– Small plastic bottle of liquid skin
– Package of multiple-sized strip BandAids
– New tube of toothpaste and unopened toothbrush
– Bar of Dove soap
– 2 tubes of Burt Bee’s lip balm (one medicated, one regular)
– Large tube of BenGay
– Bottle of Benadryl 25 mg
– Bottle of Aleve
– 2 small package of tissues
– 3 packs of 20 handy wipes (Target sample/travel section)
– 2 med. size tubes of Eucerne hand lotion (Target sample/travel section)
– 1 canister Burt Bee’s hand salve
– Comb
– 2 Greenies (treats for cleaning dog’s teeth)
– 6 doses of large-breed flea medication (with package instructions)
– 10 oz bottle of tea tree oil and aloe dog shampoo (I’ve used it before on myself and must say, it’s quite lovely and helps with insect bites and stings)
– Small mending kit
– Collapsible canvas dog bowl (I’d given him one the other day)
– 2 Bic lighters

In the day pack (fully expanded):

– Roll of Duct Tape
– Full-sized thick woolen blanket
– Pair of wool socks
– 2 pairs of thick Dickie work socks (on sale at Target)
– A size x-large fleece-lined rain jacket with hood
– A construction vest with reflective stripes
– Lined notebook, 10 stamps and envelopes
– 2 one gallon Ziploc bags
– 3 pack deodorant
– 3 dark colored t-shirts (on sale at Target)
– 7 pairs of cotton boxers (on sale at Target)
– Quick-dry  wash cloth and bath towel in small pouch
– Coleman foldable fork/spoon
– Small can opener
– 2 ink pens, a black sharpie
– spill-proof travel mug
– 2 24″ bungee cords
and in the side pouch, an umbrella

I found 2 Nalgene square-sized 64 oz. and one 32oz. water containers at REI on sale for 9.50 each. I added those (filled with water), a rip-stop 8′ x 10′ tarp (on sale at a sporting goods store), a large jar of peanut butter, strawberry jam, a loaf of whole wheat bread, and a 2 dozen cliff bars to the care package.