We were thinking that a blog about gift giving would be appropriate this week, as we are just 1 week away from Christmas. But rather than recommend some of our favorite skin creams for your family, we decided to write about gifts you can give to those who could REALLY use some thoughtfulness this time of year.... our homeless population.
Below we have compiled a list of gifts you can gather and give when you are driving around doing your last minute shopping. When you see someone who could use the gift of warmth, understanding, protection, etc... you'll have some items ready in your car to gift immediately!
2) Give protection – If you’re considering gifting an umbrella, don’t go buy one! Instead, buy (for about the same price) a sturdy plastic poncho. Umbrellas are bulky for homeless people, and, frankly, too frail. You can also consider giving a nice Intruder Alarm, an LED light, an all into one small key-chain-sized device with tools, or a flashlight. Consider gifting items in a sturdy bag.
3) Give health – Footcare is a huge deal if you’re exposed to constant climate changes, have no reliable access to a bathroom, and spend all day on your feet. Two pairs of sturdy new socks two pairs so you can swap them out when one pair gets wet), a washcloth for drying between toes, and a toiletry-sized bottle of lotion make a great theme gift. If you’re gifting toiletries, however, keep in mind that everything has to be carried at all times, so travel-sized is MUCH better than Costco-sized. It’s hard to give nourishing food, but giftcards of all types (food, transit, drugstore) make a nice gift. Be sure, however, to buy cards for locations that are very close by, and ones where a homeless person, maybe if not exactly welcomed, can at least reliably enter the premises.
4) Give joy – Give an indulgent treat! Say, one high-quality, individually-wrapped chocolate, or a small fluffy whimsical item that would make anyone smile. When you buy these in packs, you can get them at very affordable prices to split among many homeless gift-bags. You can even combine joy and practicality by gifting a Santa-hat – it will keep a head warm, and help with panhandling.
5) Give understanding – giving a gift of something you already own (but rarely use), is fine. Maybe you have some old warm throws, or a blanket or two that no one uses. You can also gift a street person with a BIG used item, like that old sleeping bag, or a coat, or even a tent. If you do gift a used item, be sure it’s obviously freshly laundered and mended. Homeless people are often victimized by receiving “free,” second-hand stuff that is infested with lice or scabies. It is an awful form of torture to have a warm item you’re afraid to use – so be sure YOUR gift smells laundry fresh!
-Your friends at Restoration Medical