You have probably heard the phrase “it is better to give than to receive” and at no time is that sentiment truer than during the Christmas holidays. In the past, we might have posted cool automotive gadgets as gift ideas or holiday safe driving tips, but this year we decided to do something a little bit different. This season, we wanted to give you a gift idea that far exceeds what money can buy, after all, it ‘tis the season for giving, right?
If you live in or around the Oklahoma City area, you have probably noticed that the homeless population has grown quite a bit since Covid began. In fact, prior to Covid, it appeared the numbers of homeless in the city were going down, but last year the numbers were back up and even had surpassed the 2016 high. For this reason, we chose to make this article about a DIY project that you can make to keep in your car until you see someone in need. Once you spot someone in need, you can give it away and spread a little Christmas spirit to those who truly are in need.
So, what is this DIY project? It is a care package of the most requested items by the homeless all together in one large Ziplock bag. It’s convenient to keep under the seat in your car, or in the back seat pocket. Then when you see someone in need that you feel led to help, you simply reach under (or behind) your seat and give them this little care package. This is a great DIY project you can do with your children, too, and show them the value of helping others less fortunate.
‘Tis the Season of Giving: Items to Include
While you can put many different things in the bag, here is a list of the top requested items according to All Gifts Considered:
- Socks (this is the #1 most asked-for item)
- Water bottle (we didn’t need to go out and purchase these, we just grabbed some from our fridge)
- Wet wipes
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Tuna & cracker packs (we also included peanut butter)
- Single-serving snacks like trail mix, nuts, crackers
- Nail clippers
When we put ours together, we left off the sunscreen since it is wintertime and instead put in some lotion for cracked and dry skin. We also added individual size Kleenex to our care packages since it is cold & flu season. Lastly, we included lip balm because we imagine the cold Oklahoma winds on a face can certainly cause some painful cracked lips. All Gifts Considered has many other ideas of things you could include as well as suggestions on what you SHOULD NOT include in the care package as well.
For approximately $100 to $200 (depending on what you choose to include), you can create 10 well-stocked care packages to give out to those you come across in need while you are out driving this holiday season. Additionally, we included useful resources information that we thought might be helpful. One of those items was a slip of paper from the Curbside Chronicle letting them know that they are hiring homeless people and information on where they can go to learn more. We thought this was important to include because while not all homeless individuals are looking for a hand up out of their situation, some are, and the Curbside Chronicle is a wonderful organization in Oklahoma City that does just that!
On a side note, if while you are traveling around OKC you see individuals wearing a green apron and selling magazines on street corners, these are homeless individuals who are working for the Curbside Chronicle to earn money and work their way out of poverty. For $2 you can purchase a magazine from them with timely articles and relevant local information. It offers these individuals the ability to help themselves and allows them a feeling of dignity and pride that one gets from a hard day’s work.
Lastly, we included a printout with information on it for local shelters in the OKC area that we made ourselves using shelterlist.com as a resource. There you can find places in many different cities all over the state of Oklahoma as well as the entire country. We also included a Christmas card that we wrote an encouraging message on for whomever the recipient of our care package would be. A handwritten note works just as well, but it is important to let them know that someone cares…just a small reminder that they are still human and deserving of love.
We hope you found this DIY helpful in something you and your family can do this holiday season to give back. There are many other ways you can help the homeless & if that is something you have a heart for you might want to check out The Homeless Alliance in Oklahoma City to see how you can get more involved. If the homeless are not where your heart lies, know that there are a plethora of non-profit organizations and churches that could use your talents and assistance in many different projects that give back to our community. Even if you do not have the time to give, so many places can take your donations of clothing, kitchen items, and of course money!
Whatever you choose to do this season, we hope you find it in your heart to give back in some way…even if it’s just a warm smile to brighten someone else’s day. And if you do decide to make some DIY care packages with your family, we hope you find that it’s a wonderful bonding experience – I know it was with ours. Remember, ‘tis the season for giving after all, and teaching your children the value of giving is a gift that truly lasts a lifetime.