You make hope possible.

Six Ways the Whole Family Can Help the Homeless This Summer

From care packages to a Columbus car donation, you can make an impact as temperatures rise

Imagine spending a hot summer day lying by the pool, going for a bike ride or walking your dog. Now, envision never getting relief from that heat. Your only respite from the sun is at night—the hot, muggy night. No shower, no change of socks, no tooth brush. Now suppose you’re expected to go to a job interview. Would you be hired? Would you even bother going?

This is the reality of Ohio’s homeless population. From dehydration and heat stroke, to general exhaustion and athlete’s foot, the risks of exposure to the sun and scorching temperatures of summer pose an enormous threat to thousands.

Here’s what you can do to help save lives this summer:

Put together care kits

You’ll get the whole family working together to assemble these incredibly useful packages. You can even recruit friends, rec teams or church groups and assign each person an item to bring to make it a party. These are perfect to keep in your car, or throw one in your purse for your walk to work. Complete your care package in a gallon ziplock back with items such as:

  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • baby wipes
  • hand sanitizer
  • first aid kit
  • fruit cups
  • canned meats, soups, pasta (make sure they can be opened without a can opener)
  • eating utensils
  • trail mix
  • mini packs of tissues
  • cracker snack packs
  • raisins
  • granola bars
  • water bottle
  • deodorant
  • quarters (useful for laundromats or phone calls)
  • soap
  • chapstick
  • razor
  • comb
  • lotion
  • sunscreen
  • socks
  • underwear
  • hat
  • gum
  • gift card

Pass out water bottles

Dehydration is one of the biggest threats the homeless population facing during the scorching summer months. With temperatures nearing 100 degrees in the summer (and that’s before the heat index comes into play), being prepared with water bottles to hand out or to donate en mass to local shelters can save a life.

Donate summer clothes

Procrastinate on the spring cleaning? Hit those closets and keep an eye out for those clothes that you no longer wear, but are still in good shape. Remember, clothes lend a sense of dignity. If the items are too damaged for you, they’re too worn for the homeless. If these items are in good shape, gather them up and donate them to organizations that provide housing for the homeless, like Volunteers of America thrift stores.

Giving these needed items to the homeless can give them hope and a fresh start for the future.

Put their best foot first

Because of persistent heat, lack of access to showers and lack of clean socks, athlete’s foot is a major concern for homeless men and women. You can help by giving new socks, foot powder, and athlete’s foot spray to people who are homeless (consider including these items in your care package, or in a baggy on their own). Tip: Be sure to also include a pack of baby wipes so those you’re helping can put clean feet in their new socks and shoes.

Donate a backpack

Collect backpacks

The constant need to keep their belongings within arm’s reach means homeless individuals often need backpacks. This is a great item to collect at the end of the summer during back-to-school sales. Give the backpacks solo, or fill them with the items from your care package.

You can also help homeless and at-risk children returning to school by donating backpacks and school supplies to Operation Backpack®.

Make a Columbus car donation

What can be as critical as new shoes or sunscreen? The free programs that provide the homeless population a chance at a new life. When you make a Columbus car donation, you’re supporting not only the shelters that provide men and women a respite from the heat, but also the programs that provide job training and counseling.

And we don’t just stop at cars. We’ll accept nearly anything with a motor, including trucks, tractors and motorcycles—even if they’re not running. We can also arrange same-day towing, and you could potentially make more money from your vehicle as a tax deductible donation than you would by selling it in the classifieds. Fill out our online donation form now, or call (800) 862-6030 to donate over the phone.