Each year, as winter starts to rear its ugly face (and it gets downright uglyyyyy in Chicago), our church small group gets together to create care packages for some of the homeless people we are sure to run into outside in the freezing cold as we hurry from warm place to warm place.
We try to keep the packages light enough that they can be easily carried, but substantial enough to help meet their needs, at least in the short term.
This has been a great way to show our children that we’ve got all we need and then a whole bunch more, despite what commercials may try to tell them, and it gives us the opportunity to model for them what leading a compassionate, generous life really looks like.
The children love being involved in this project, and I’ve seen firsthand how sharing one of these care packages builds a bridge between generations, and closes the gap (even for just a minute) of those with vastly different socioeconomic backgrounds.
If you think you’d like to do something similar with your family or group of friends, I’ve shared a list of our “must haves” below.
For this particular project, we teamed up with SoapBox Soaps, a company I learned about this summer. The work of SoapBox Soaps dovetails beautifully with our goal in creating these care packages. For every bar of soap you purchase, they send one to someone in need. They send soap (and clean water) to those in need worldwide, but they are also generous here at home in the U.S., sending supplies to homeless shelters, women’s shelters, and nursing homes.
(As a total aside, I am a big sucker for their Cinnamon Spice Bar Soap, and my hubby—who really could not care less about frilly stuff like special soaps—requested boldly that we order more of the Lemongrass Bar Soap as soon as we ran out. P.S. Let’s keep that last part between us, if we’re to remain friends.)
We’ve become big fans, throughout the past couple of years, of companies that dual purpose our money for the good of those in need. Which is why we so easily became fast and longtime customers of SoapBox Soaps. All natural soap (peanut free!) that benefits my family, and the same soap is going to someone who has little to no means to purchase items for their own hygiene? That’s a no-brainer for us!
So, we were thrilled to include soap from SoapBox Soaps in our homeless care packs, along with several other items. Here is the list of what we include in our packs:
a water bottle
granola / protein bars
travel toothbrush / toothpaste set
socks (note: our homeless friends always are so excited to get new socks, they are usually the biggest hit of the bag)
handwarmers / toewarmers
This year, our group also included a pocket-sized New Testament. For us, this is a project born out of our faith and love for others. However, if this doesn’t fit you, of course you don’t have to do the same. We often will also include a small giftcard to a local restaurant, or a few dollars to be used as needed.
So, let’s hear it! Do you do something like this? If so, what do you include that we should consider adding to our packs?
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by SoapBox Soaps. All opinions are our own.