Care packages for homeless people

The items you choose to include will ultimately depend on your budget, but below are some ideas to help you come up with a plan.

Remember, the bags that you use for the care packages can be useful to homeless people as well. So if you’re using plastic grocery bags, consider double bagging the items so that homeless people can re-use them to carry other items.

Also, if you are including toiletries – or any type of lotion or fluid that isn’t food – be sure to package those items separately from any food products, so that the food doesn’t end up tasting like soap or sunscreen.

When handing out food to homeless people, remember to distribute the items as a group, to keep you and your colleagues safe.


  • Bottled water
  • Beef jerky
  • Trail mix
  • Applesauce, in single-serving containers
  • Pudding cups
  • Raisins

Foods to avoid

  • Hard candies
  • Sticky candies
  • Hard nuts
  • Crunchy granola bars

Numerous volunteer agencies recommend against including hard nuts or crunchy granola bars because a homeless person most likely does not have access to regular dental care and eating hard items like these can be painful if they have untreated or unresolved dental issues.


Remember to package these items separate from the food items, so that the food doesn’t end up tasting like lotion or soap:

  • Lip balm
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Unscented lotion
  • Dental floss

Seasonal Comforts and Necessities

Depending on your geographical location or season:

  • Hats
  • Wool caps
  • Scarves
  • Umbrellas
  • Sunglasses
  • Socks

Other items

  • Travel mugs
  • Reusable water bottles
  • Gift cards
  • Band aids

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