Heading out in a minute to hand out the care packages downtown. The USB flashlights came in the mail yesterday and this morning I printed out the instruction sheet that goes inside of each one, so they’re ready to be deployed. I thought you guys might find it interesting to see what the sheets say, and can offer some tips on how to improve it for the upcoming Care Package 4.0.
Hello! You are now the proud owner of Care Package 3.0, state of the art in making living on the street suck a little bit less than usual. Don’t worry, I get you: You don’t want handouts. You’re not a freeloader. You want opportunity! You want to get working again, back on your feet and build yourself back up to where you were before.
Unfortunately our political situation is kind of fucked right now so that may be a ways off. The good news is, only 8% of homeless are “chronically homeless”, which is to say homeless for longer than 3 years.
That means 92% find some way to escape homelessness in under 3 years. So the odds are indeed in your favor, and no doubt you’ve already got a plan. But until that plan comes to fruition, you can apply the contents of this package for some immediate relief!
Care Package 3.0 includes the following:
Nutritionally complete meal replacement shake, requires no refrigeration and keeps for one year.
-1x mylar bivvy sack
Made of the same stuff as emergency blankets, traps heat very efficiently and is waterproof. Works by reflecting near infrared, which most of your body heat is emitted as.
-1x Zippo catalytic hand warmer
No flame, heats with a slow smolder. No fire risk, does not get hot enough to melt mylar so it can be used inside the bivvy sack, maybe tuck it into a pocket or something. Backpackers commonly do this, sticking a hand warmer in the toe of their sleeping back to keep their feet warm.
However, do not pull the sack up over your head. The hand warmer emits fumes which will become trapped in the sack along with the heat, so leave your head poking out for fresh air. Other than that it’s harmless, and lasts 12 hours per fill.
Speaking of which, the little white plastic thing that looks like a miniature gas can is for measuring out the exact right amount of lighter fluid when refilling. The instructions for how to refill are tucked into the soft carrying bag the hand warmer was in.
It comes pre-filled, so to light it simply hold a flame close to the catalytic heating element after taking the top half of the casing off. It takes a little while, like a good 30 solid seconds before it’ll start to visibly smolder, so be patient. I don’t know why it takes so long.
-1x brand new, clean, dry, extra large black socks
Self explanatory. Always nice to have some of these handy. You can use the tupperware container they came in to keep them dry when not being worn.
-1x Hygenic kit
Electric toothbrush, body wash/shampoo, toothpaste. Basic niceties to stay clean and feeling fresh.
For keeping you dry. Works well together with the bivy sack.
-1x Power Bank
For carrying some electricity with you. Keeps your phone and any other small electronics charged on the go.
-1x USB rechargeable flashlight
Does not need disposable batteries! Unscrew the end to reveal a USB plug you can insert into any USB port to recharge it. This includes the power bank.
That’s all! I know this isn’t much and doesn’t really solve your biggest problems. I wish I could give you more but I’m only just staying afloat myself. This isn’t some religious thing either, you won’t find scripture written on the other side of this or anything. I just like to help, same as you. (ˊ• ω •ˋ)
We’re heading into an especially cold, rainy week so I can’t delay handing these out any longer. The water proof bivvy sack, umbrella and hand warmers in particular are badly needed. Otherwise I’d keep scouting for last minute additions.
I wanted to not just include safety tips for the potentially dangerous items but some words of encouragement as well. I don’t know if that was overbearing. Too much, or too little? I also didn’t want to come at it from any identifiable ideological angle since the homeless are a cross section of society and have a wide variety of worldviews.
You guys are my sounding board/market research group for stuff like this. There’s almost 4,000 of you now so odds are good some of you will have ideas to offer for improving this document, as well as some items you think would be good inclusions in Care Package 4.0. Don’t be shy, let me know in the comments!
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