Summer Volunteering: Helping the Less Fortunate This Season

By Mali Anderson in Helping Hands

Many volunteers spend time helping their homeless neighbors in the winter through clothing drives and food pantry donations, but summer volunteering help is critical, too. Helping the under-served folks in your community has to be a year-round priority.

Wondering what you can do to help? Creating summer care kits for the homeless is a great way to help individuals in need during the warm weather. Read on for tips on how you can create your own.

Get a Group Together

Volunteering is a fantastic way to meet new people, strengthen friendships, and build community. If you are making care kits to distribute to homeless members of your community, consider contacting family and friends to help out. More hands working together will mean more outreach and more bonding time for you.

You can also pitch in at a local shelter or resource center that will have a better idea of what community members need. An organization that talks with homeless neighbors every day can introduce you to people who can use the kits or help you distribute supplies.

Think of Summer Items

Each season has a unique set of needs. When you are creating summer care kits, remember to think of concerns specific to your region like dehydration, frequent rain, or heat exposure. You may opt to include lightweight hats and safe sunscreens during the hot months, or a few extra pairs of dry socks if you live in a wet climate.

Pack Water and Food

Staying hydrated is essential to your health, but it can be difficult in the summer heat. Pack a few bottles of water or sports drinks in each kit, or even a sturdy reusable water bottle.

If you add food, stick to soft, nutritious non-perishables like dried fruit, peanut butter, and protein bars. Crunchy items like apples and peanuts can be difficult to eat for anyone who doesn't have access to regular dental care.

buckets of toiletry donations

Add Personal and First-Aid Items

From hair brushes to deodorant, personal items are an often forgotten (but useful) addition to kits. These basic hygiene and first-aid supplies are helpful items for anyone living outdoors or in a hotel to have on hand:

  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Pads, tampons, and travel-size packs of tissues
  • Adhesive bandages and alcohol wipes
  • Shampoo and soap
  • Baby wipes
  • Deodorant
  • Combs and brushes
  • Lotion and lip balm

Provide Resources

Sometimes homeless individuals don't know where to turn for help. Providing a few items can be a welcomed way to get through a day or two, but in order for someone to put homelessness behind them, they may need more support. Research a few places in your community that provide housing, health care, and meal services, and include their contact information in your kits.

If helping the less fortunate is something you'd like to get more involved with, reach out to the National Coalition for the Homeless. They have links to local resources and recommendations on how to help, from attending local meetings to various outreach opportunities.

Do you have other summer volunteering ideas to share? Let us know on Twitter!

Image sources: Pixabay | Flickr

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Why It’s Good

Make helping the less fortunate a priority for your family, whatever the season. Volunteering builds communities, strengthens family bonds, and helps those in need.