Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Winter Care Boxes For the Homeless

Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year. However, I realise that this may not be the case for everyone. In the UK Christmas brings cold weather conditions, a lot of rain, sleet, freezing temperatures and occasional snow.
These colder temperatures call for wrapping up warm, lighting the fire and sipping mulled wine or hot chocolate. 

For the homeless, however, there is little to no escape from the harsh winter conditions. While we're all out during December trying to get organised for Christmas and enjoying the festivities - there are people who will be spending Christmas Day alone on the streets. 

The charity Shelter released statistics stating that there are at least 320,000 homeless people in Britain. In London alone there are 170,000 homeless - excluding the 'invisible homeless' that sofa-surf, sleep in cars etc. 

Being a 23-year-old Literature student I may not be able to solve homelessness overnight. But bringing a small piece of comfort to somebody sleeping rough is an easy enough thing to achieve. 

I've put together four shoe-box sized boxes, two for men, two for women, packed with essentials and a handful of novelties that might bring just a little bit of Christmas joy this year. 

A few of these items came from my own wardrobe, an old jumper that I no longer wore, a bobble hat that was replaced last Christmas and has been living in the bottom of a drawer ever since.
And a handful of sanitary items for the women's boxes' that I had in my drawer from the time before I owned an OrganiCup - and as for the majority - I purposely went out and purchased items specifically for them. 

In total, I spent £30.55 - excluding the donations I made from my own wardrobe/drawers. This amounts to £7.64 for each box, which in the grand scheme of things is next to nothing. I spend more than that on a single cocktail at the local bar.  

Translated into USD that's $39.46 overall, divided by four - $9.62 each. 

Considering the average UK citizen spends £244 on Christmas gifts, and the average American spends $929 on gifts... £7.64/$9.62 really isn't much to spend on someone that will probably receive nothing. 

Things that I included: 
- Baby wipes
- Deodorant
- Soap
- Toothbrush 
- Toothpaste
- Chocolate 
- Gloves
- Hat
- Umbrella 
- Journal 
- Pen
- Lip balm 
- Hand Moisturiser 
- Chewing Gum 
- Socks 
- Muslei Bars 

Other Things to Include: 
- Underwear 
- Talcum powder
- Colouring Book 
- Colouring pencils 
- Reusable water bottle 
- Scarves 
- Novel 
- Seasonal Novelty 
- Shower Gel 
- Hair Brush 
- Juice Boxes 
- Hair Bunches/bobbles 
- Rucksacks/Big Bags 

I packed up the boxes and tied them with string so that they can be checked by the homeless shelter. This also makes the boxes easier to manage for the people that they will be going to because unsticky tape is a pain in the ass.

These boxes are wonderful ideas, particularly over the winter period. January is always a miserable time of year, so please do not think donations will not be appreciated after the festivities are done. These boxes will be dropped off at the local homeless shelter and will be distributed accordingly. 

Some shelters may unpack the shoe boxes and repack them so that people aren't carrying around 4 shower gels and 3 tubes of toothpaste etc. They divide it evenly - so it's a good idea to call in advance to find out how they will distribute the items as to how you pack them yourself.

Any other donations such as blankets, coats, warm clothing, sleeping bags etc. are also extremely helpful. 
If money is a little tight as it can often be over the Christmas period, boxes can be made up of items that you no longer need or want, and that you think may be practical for someone living on the streets. 

To jump on board simply Google your local homeless shelter, grab a couple of boxes and brighten someones Christmas! 

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