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Making Survival Goodie Bags for the homeless

So we’re smack in the middle of the holiday season and we’re wondering how much money we can spend to spoil people. Or we complain that we don’t have enough. Sadly, there are some folks out there who don’t even have a place to live r food to eat. This is a reality in capitalist societies, very sad indeed.

I read on a website that a couple wanted to help homeless people but felt as if giving money wasn’t always productive. They came up with an idea which they called “Friendship Bags”. They filled the bags with things that would be useful for the homeless. The idea is to keep a few of these bags in your car (maybe one in your laptop bag?) and hand them out when you see a homeless person begging for money. I can’t remember everything that was placed in the bag but here are a few things I can remember and also a few things which I thought would be cool.

Recycle paper or plastic bags or get some of the paper ones at the store for $1 (for about 50 bags). Fill with any combination of the following items:

*Bus ticket (or all day bus pass)
*Change for a phonecall (or a phonecard – i’ve seen them for $2 at the corner store)

*Can of goods that can be opened without a can opener (I’ve seen veggies, fruit cups,  sausages and other non-perishable goods that don’t require a can opener)

*Box of juice (the lunchbox size)

*Coffee card or certificate for a free coffee at a local coffee shop

*Napkin and a fork, spoon or knife (I’ve seen biodegradable ones at the dollarstore)

*Disposible hand warmers (for winter)

*List of local soup kitchens and shelters in the area

*Pair of thermal socks

*Toothpaste & toothbrush


*disposable razor & travel size soap

*Bag of homemade trail-mix (mix of raisins, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts…)

*Chocolate Bar

*Individual Packets of instant coffee (I found these and they were $1 for 12 of them)

Depending on the climate where you live and the needs of people there, you can probably come up with many more items. I am waiting for boxing day so I can find a few good, yet inexpensive necessities to put in these bags.

If you are really strapped for cash and not able to afford to fill a bag, tell friends and family about your project and see if you can get some donations. You could do this project as a group so everyone can pitch in. Also check your own home for anything that might be useful which you can pass along. (unused travel soaps or toiletries, food…)

I will try and keep everyone posted on how I make out with this!

2 Responses to Making Survival Goodie Bags for the homeless

  1. [...] in the holiday spirit, the Frugal Vegan has a list of suggestions in lieu of money to give to homeless people, including easy-open [...]

  2. [...] I wrote about this last year. I fill recycled shopping bags with items for the homeless to pass out. Here is the article for ideas: http://thefrugalvegan.wordpress.com/2009/12/24/making-survival-goodie-bags-for-the-homeless/ [...]

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