Unexpected Care Packs (A Call to Action).

I added a stamped envelope, pen, and paper: inviting them to ’write to someone who misses you.”

Every time I see someone panhandling, sleeping on the street, or hitchiking with a large pack my heart catches. I think back to my long hours of waiting at bus stops in the cold, snow, and rain. I sat watching hundreds of cars go by with only the driver inside. I was resentful then and still often feel guilty if I drive anywhere alone in my minivan.

I watched the people pass by as I sat. I was hungry, tired, cold and wet. I never asked anyone for anything, but I wished desperately that someone would offer me a kind word, a snack, or a ride. I imagined sliding into a warm car and being driven in comfort before being dropped off close to my house. It rarely if ever happened.

I know what it feels like to wonder where I would sleep at night. I know what kind of desperate obsession hunger becomes when you can see others eating things you cannot have. I can easily disregard the choices that may have led people to the point where they are now: standing with a cardboard sign. I simply see a person suffering, that could benefit from any kindness.

Nowadays I rarely carry cash. All my income is direct-deposited and I don’t often need cash. In those moments when I see someone who is so very much in need, I often wish I had something to give them.

I have recently hit upon an idea I am excited about: care packs. The concept is simple; you buy a box of zipper bags and pack them full of small items that a person living rough or down-on-their-luck might need. You then keep them in your car. When you come across someone in need, you give them a care pack instead of, or in addition to, just handing out cash.

Something like this would have made a world of difference for me. I’ll include a list of items that might be good at the bottom of this post.

This is an article about some people in Jacksonville that have been helping people in this way. https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.jacksonville.com/amp/5556519002

Here is my list: Snack bars, protein snacks, rasins, hand sanitizer, face masks, tissues or toilet paper, liquid soap, shampoo, toothbrush/toothpaste, socks, deodorant, soap and washcloth or wipes, a trash bag, a few dollars or a gift card to a grocery store or fast food. * I pack a couple with some feminine hygiene, too. In case I meet a person who needs those.

Drop a comment below with your thoughts? Share pictures if you make some packs of your own!

A Simple Act of Kindness Makes a Big Impact on others.

Many times in my life being seen and included by strangers was the difference between having a really positive experience and having a bad one. Being given a ride by a stranger resulted in a short trip in a warm car instead of freezing at a bus stop. Being invited in to a party meant not being alone for a while. Being asked to stay for dinner could mean I got to eat that day.

After having lived in New England, even a smile and eye-contact when I’m out on a walk really brightens my day.

This is why I understand how much it meant to this woman that these boys noticed a her sitting alone and acted. A group of boys at a diner thought about it and made a difference (and a friend!). Here is a news report about it: https://youtu.be/xyhQyi_KrWE

Have you ever felt sorry when you saw someone who was obviously cold, alone, hungry, or excluded. What would our world look like if we were to act on those feelings and make a difference for others?

What small thing could you do to make a difference for someone else?

About a week ago I saw a woman on the side of a busy freeway. It was hot. She looked worried. She was driving a van, so I assumed she had children though I could not tell if they were with her.

I made a split-second decision to pull over to ask if I could help. It turned out she was out of gas. She had been waiting for an hour for road side assistance. She had three sweaty kids getting impatient. Cars had blown their horns at her. Thousands of people had simply rushed by. We chatted for a minute while I tried to think of how to help. I asked if they had water to drink. Then I realized that it would be complicated to drive back and forth, but I could simply go get her some gas and bring it back. It took me about 10 minutes to borrow a gas can from the station, fill it, and haul it down the road and back again to where she was stuck.

Once I’d poured the fuel I had into her tank, she could be on her way again. They could all cool off and get home. She gratefully returned the can to the station so that I could be on my own way again. She couldn’t believe that I had stopped to help. I thought that was a little sad. It should be normal to ask for and receive all manner of help from our fellow humans.

I hope you’ll join me as I continue to seek out opportunities to give a simple act of kindness to those who need it.

Kindness in Action

A Dallas man searches the streets for unsheltered people, hoping to drive them to shelters on the coldest nights.

He’s been cold, hungry, and sleeping rough himself. This article shares how he now does what he can to help keep some of the most vulnerable in our society alive when everyone else looks the other way. Or looks right through them.

Thank you, B.B. for seeing them as people, and for doing what you can to help them stay warm and alive.