Monday, July 17, 2017

helping the homeless in the heat

it will be hot in KC this week!  it made me think about people going thrugh homelessness agin.  Last year we made bags to hand out from our car to help the poor and homeless servive in the hot days.  We are going to make them again.  Here is what we put in the bags so you can make some too if you want to.  my mom is going to type the rest./

-----a note from mom :)----

I feel like this is sometimes an uncomfortable or controversial topic, but still worth mentioning.

I admittedly never know the best way to handle encounters with people experiencing homelessness.

People seem to pick one of two camps:
1. They give money, or,
2. They give nothing, for a variety of reasons, including fear, disdain for the practice of begging or a concern that their money would be used for something unsavory.

Anyway, in my awkwardness, I will continue…

Last summer Max and Sullivan became increasingly curious about the people who stand on curbs next to stoplights holding signs:  "Homeless.  Please help."

"Why aren’t we helping?!"  they'd asked. My go-to responses were: We donate to charities that help them.  Or, I don't have any cash on me.  And I'd briefly explain why some people experience difficult times,  and then the light would turn green and we were off. 

While visiting Chicago last summer, we were at yet another stoplight where we encountered an older man with a dog, holding a sign on a particularly hot day.  Sullivan yelled out the window to the gentleman..."DON'T WORRY...YOU CAN HAVE ALL THE MONEY IN MY PIGGY BANK!"  My heart broke and then swelled with pride for his selflessness.

My kids were wide-eyed and intently watching how I handled these situations and all they saw was ME not helping.  So I started to think about a tangible way to get them involved in helping and discovered this idea of handing out care packages.  

I figured the more "hands-on" they could be the better.  This is not just quick solution pulled from an adult’s wallet. It takes some time to put together and they’re made of things that kids understand, like snacks  for grumbling tummies and Band-Aids for scraped knees.
Max & Sully, circa Summer 2016
 I did some searching on what items are best to include and was very interested to find that some of the items I thought would be helpful actually are not 
(ie. mouthwash and soap are surprisingly on the "Do Not" list).

We found a good guideline here:

We included:
Sunblock, First Aid kit, antibacterial wipes, socks, travel mug, beef jerky snack, applesauce, Chapstick,
And a handwritten drawing/note from the kids that said “We wish you the best.”

The kids had a lot of fun shopping and picking out all of the items.
the boys packed and packed until we had a nice stash to keep in the car.
This obviously isn’t saving the world, but the kids sure think they are.  And I want them to always believe that they’re capable of making a difference.

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