Care Packages, Homeless Care Packages, Emergency Kits, or Angel Bags
These packages, or Angel Bags, are small bags filled with the essentials that many homeless people are lacking. The inspiration behind these bags came from the idea of Paying It Forward. Meaning, if someone commits a good deed, then hopefully that person will pass on another good deed and pay the positivity forward. Paying it Forward is something I learned back in high school, and I have lived by the words ever since. In the past, I took numerous trips to New York almost every weekend and the number of homeless people I saw was heartbreaking. My friends and I knew there must be something we could do to help, because giving people money now and then or buying them dinner wasn’t enough. After going into a few corner stores, we came up with the plan of making these care packages, or Angel Bags, and passing out as many as we could throughout the night.
When it came time to filling the bags, we ran into trouble because there are so many things that you cannot put into bags and pass out to people. This is mainly due to allergies, addiction to a specific product, or the risk of someone abusing the products. That is why there are 3 things you should always do when you are planning to create and distribute these Angel Bags:
1. Proceed with caution
For minors, I would recommend distributing the bags with an adult or in an area with heavy police traffic. Also, make a note to never approach someone who appears dangerous or can be aggressive towards themselves or others. Someone who chooses to hide themselves or appears not approachable probably doesn’t want to be bothered.
2. Have Too Many Bags?
If you reach the end of the night and realize that you have made a few too many bags, bring them to the police department and they will distribute them to shelters or people who can use them.
3. What to Pack?
Look up lists of what people normally put into these bags or look up what the local police department allows for people to pass out in those neighborhoods to those in need. Sometimes they may advertise that certain shelters are asking for specific products.
DO PACK: Feel free to include any combination of these items:
–Fresh Produce (Apples, Oranges, Bananas and Grapes are your best bet, avoid Melons or Berries)
–Toothbrush and Toothpaste (DO NOT include mouthwash)
–Tissues, Wipes, Napkins, Small Shampoo, a Bar of Soap, Comb, Toilet Paper, and Deodorant
-Hand Sanitizer, Chapstick, Brush, Washcloth, Bandaids, Cotton Balls, and Q-tips
-Gum, Mints, Cough Drops, or Sugar-free candy
-Already made sandwiches and chips as a meal (Remember to read ingredients)
-Crackers or Cookies (snack foods that have low to little sugar and salt)
–Socks, Gloves, Scarf, or Hat
-Pen and Paper
-Sunglasses, Flashlight, or Book/ Newspaper / Magazine
-And any cash you may want to add to the bag
–Razors/Nail Clipper or Mouthwash (nothing sharp or containing alcohol that can be ingested)
–Anything that contains peanuts, large amounts of chocolate, or a lot of salt/sugar
-Any medication whatsoever (Unless you are bringing headache reliefs straight to a shelter and informing them that there is medication in the bags)
-Nothing that has to be kept warm or cold
-Anything that is short term perishable or cannot be stored for a while
-Gift Cards or Prepaid Cards
-Nothing electronic or needs to be charged