For our first project, Compassionate Kids chose to collect personal items and assemble “Kindness Kits” to distribute to homeless people in our community. We had a lot of fun and in the process we learned some things about working as a group, upcycling, sewing, and the reality of homelessness. This project is ongoing and we plan to host an event in February at which area homeschoolers and interested families may join us in gathering and assembling more kits. Check back soon to learn more about this event!
First we conducted a bit of research to learn more about what items were the most appropriate, given the needs and concerns of those we are helping. We learned that soap and shampoo are not the best hygiene items to include, for example, as hot water is not often available for bathing. Thus, babywipes and deodorant are better options. Socks are often sited as being of supreme importance, so we decided to include two pairs in every kit. We also learned that any food that is included should not only be easy to open but should also be soft, as dental health can be a serious concern of homeless citizens. We included only vegan food and are trying hard to keep packaging to a minimum. To learn more about how to assemble your own Kindness Kit, click here.
Next, we learned how to upcycle old t-shirts into reusable bags that would hold the items. We gathered some shirts we are no longer needing and then the amazing Brittanie Cusker (seamstress extraordinaire) worked her magic. She taught us how to cut off the sleeves of the shirts to form the handles, and then how to sew across the waist of the shirt to form the bottom of the bag. Once we learned the process, the bags were quick and easy to make.
While Brittanie was demonstrating the bag-making process, some of the kids helped to sort the items into piles. Other kids were busy decorating cards with pictures that might make someone feel loved and happy. Some drew rainbows, others hearts and animals. One boy declared that Doctor Who makes him happy, so his card included a picture of a TARDIS. Those who were able added positive messages to the cards. We slipped the cards into the Kindness Kits. Now each family has a kit for each vehicle and we plan to make more as needed.