Question for previously homeless Dopers

My university has a yearly program called “Stand Down Against Homelessness” where they distribute food and hygeine packages and clothing to the local homeless population. Collections for the distribution are currently in process. They have a list of recommended items … the typical list of nonperishable foods, everyday hygeine items like toothpaste, toothbrush, etc. I’m planning on picking up a bunch of stuff at Costco over the weekend for this.

My question for the Dopers that have been homeless (or anyone else that has an opinion) is this: were there any other items that would have made your life easier during that time, besides the basics? You know, the “little things” that the rest of us might not have thought about. If you can give me some recommendations, I’d love to pick some things up to help make somebody’s life just a little easier.

Thanks, everyone!

Would unscented baby wipes be a good idea? I’d imagine they’d be appreciated by people who don’t have easy access to a shower.

I know that when I do work with the homeless, one of the most sought after items are socks. There’s always a high demand and a low supply.

The main three things:

  1. Socks

  2. Warm coat

  3. Good sturdy pair of shoes

Everything else is either relatively easy to scrounge up, or not really needed.

What about tampons or maxi pads for homeless women?

Thanks, guys!

I can swing things like a couple packs of socks, and big boxes of tampons are cheap at the warehouse stores, and I’ll check on the baby wipes (I can see where those would come in handy) . Unfortunately I’m working off of my substandard stipend, so I can’t really afford stuff like coats and good shoes. I hope to be able to do better once I graduate (in, oh, 5 more years) … somehow I ended up loving a field that I can actually get a good-paying job in!

Thanks again … any more suggestions are most definitely welcome.

My first thought was also socks because homeless people often wind up with foot fungus and other nasty stoff from wearing ones that never get a chance to dry out in rainy weather.

Also underwear and knit watchcaps would be good.

Socks and underwear. Gloves and woollen hats, depending on your climate. Rolling tobacco, papers and disposible lighters, depending on your views on smoking. A small torch, or some candles. Little individual packs of Kleenex, or wipes like somebody already suggested. A cheap can opener, as it’s cheapest to buy foodstuffs in cans and nobody’ll ever have a method of opening the damn thing.