It’s been a while since I started putting these together. The main holdup has been that money is tight. I’m renting a house now, and when I started I was paying the entire amount myself. I have one roomie moved in which has been a great financial relief, and will have another moved in soon.
However, people living on the street can’t wait for help. They’re suffering right now, and especially need help staying dry and warm in Oregon’s rainiest season. It’s said that April showers bring May flowers, but man…those showers…they can be brutal.
For this reason, as you can see, Care Package 4.0 has different contents than 3.0. It’s tailored to seasonal needs, containing an umbrella, a poncho, a water proof mylar bivvy sack and hand warmers. There’s also a Soylent liquid meal replacement in there.
They make great emergency food because they’re shelf stable for a full year, they require no preparation and no cleanup. These care packages don’t permanently solve any of a homeless person’s core problems, but they do offer immediate relief.
So they are tailored to maximize the immediate relief that they provide. Relief from the rain and cold, and relief from hunger. I’d have liked to include power banks, shampoo, toothpaste and so on like Care Package 3.0 but the containers Target had were smaller than before.
Accordingly I couldn’t fit as much. I also can’t afford as much being that I am only just keeping my own head above water, but then we all feel that way, almost no matter how we’re doing. If we let our fear that there isn’t enough to go around stop us from giving, nobody would give.
Ten of them in total, as per the usual. Now that I know where and when the local grassroots charity Hot Soup for the Homeless meets, I’ll have a much easier time of distributing these. I may give them five, but then personally distribute the other five.
After all, the supplies inside are only half of the relief. The other half comes from seeing that people still give enough of a shit to try to help you. That the world is not the bleak, brutal place it can appear from the lowest points in our lives, and that people are still basically good.
Anyways I’ll do a followup post when I get around to handing these out. Every upvote helps me afford more supplies for the next round of care packages, so if you like what I’m doing, consider supporting it so I can keep it up. But also, I hope you’re inspired to do this yourself.
When life is good to us, and delivers us an abundance, we can show our appreciation and recognition of that generosity by spreading it around. Not so much as to put ourselves out on the street too obviously, but every person who is doing well enough to be living indoors ought to be thinking “alright, now that I am taken care of, what about others?”
Anything at all you can do is an amazing achievement, because most people do nothing. What excuse can we give, if we have plenty for ourselves, but then have not even the smallest help to give when we come upon somebody worse off?
Never be caught empty handed, without anything to offer. You don’t have to give much, you don’t need to bankrupt yourself, anything at all is meaningful and useful. Do research what people experiencing homelessness need, and purchase supplies judiciously to maximize the benefit you can deliver per dollar, but don’t despair if you can’t afford to give much.
Like I said, half of the relief simply comes from discovering not everybody is desensitized to the struggle of the homeless. Not everybody has a cold, dead heart sitting like a lump of iron in their chest. The spirit of gentleness is still alive in you, isn’t it? That fire still burns brightly in your chest, doesn’t it?
Be invigorated, then! Don’t just talk, do. It’s not difficult to set aside some of your earnings for a project like this, and it will enrich your heart in ways that no fancy possession or vacation could ever hope to. That’s an investment the value of which cannot be quantified, and which will still bring a smile to your face when you’re old and grey.
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