This is a project I started here in Santa Fe, New Mexico a couple of years ago. There are just too many homeless people on the streets, even here, not to notice and be affected. I wondered what I could do to help this situation and coincidentally, saw a YouTube Video made by a couple in Tacoma, Washington on how they had started their Homeless Backpack project. I started one here with the few dollars I had and have been excited and gratified about it ever since. I find good, used backpacks, clean them up and fill them with essentials. Then I give them to those I see on the streets or at shelters who would like them, and believe me, there are plenty of people in that category.
The packs are filled with a combination of survival items, hygiene items, some cold weather clothing, some food and a few things just to make people's lives easier. I've gotten wonderful feedback from receivers and some tips along the way as to how to make the packs better. I'm even getting a reputation on the streets for having a good product and not trying to sell anybody any beliefs or life style choices. Not my job. I only want to give someone a small break and make their day better. One day at a time. They tell me it helps.
Although this has not always been the case, at this time I have a roof over my head, food to eat and clothes to wear. However, I don't want to forget how valuable and tenuous these things are and that they do not necessarily come to everyone. In 2012 the US Department of Housing and Urban Development reported 633,782 people were homeless in the US alone, 38% were families. It is far worse now. This is simply not acceptable. We all need to do our part to redistribute the wealth and include everyone in at least a subsistence level endowment. We can contribute to this effort one pack at a time if we all chip in.
To this end, I've also created HomelessBackpack.net, a website that ties together all the Homeless Backpack projects in the US and elsewhere into one network. This website can serve as a hub site where anyone can see the scope of these projects around the world and learn how they can step in and contribute themselves. It's all there. Please visit the site and see how you can help:
Some people have asked me to put up the list of my emergency kit contents so here it is.
And now, a purely fun project for you latte coffee drinkers
Converting your battery powered Aerolatte foamer to 110 volt mains power
Below is a link to my complete instructions on how to do this. I can't believe how great this conversion is. Mine's been working perfectly for a few years now and works better and faster then it ever did on battery power, plus, there's the advantage of never having to buy new batteries for it which I was doing every couple of weeks. Here are the instructions, complete with photos - very easy. Just take your time and you'll be thrilled with the results.
Converting the battery powered Aerolatte foamer to 110 volts mains power