Help Support the Homeless – List of supplies

Help support the homeless in your community 

The Following is a list of needed items. Please take what you can to any agency providing homeless services.  This list is something the younsters in your Church or community organization as well as individuals can contribute to any time of the year.   All of these items are in need year around.   Your youth groups will have fun collecting these.

The list was developed by a local service agency in my community: Sweetwater Valley Camp in Austell Ga.   They provide a free food pantry (set up like a grocery store) a free clothing pantry (set up like a retail clothing store) a medical facility (including dental care) and many other services out of a beautifully well-maintained building.  The list was developed in conjunction with Cobb Faith Partnership.

Batteries (AAA, AA, D)         

Feminine hygiene products


Utility/Emergency Candles

Sleeping Bags                         


Bibles & bookmarks


Zip-Lock bags

Thick Socks                            

Garbage bags


Tissues and/or Toilet paper                            

Sewing kits


Toothbrushes and Toothpaste

Tents or shelters                      

Antibacterial Ointment           

Combs & brushes

Small lanterns with batteries   

Coleman catalytic heaters        

Ready-to-eat food

Bottled water

Travel size soaps, shampoos   

Baby wipes or wet wipes

Reading glasses

Shower utility room & 5 gallon solar shower bags (this product provides a private shower)  You can get these at Target and Walmart type stores in camping aisles. 

Link to target on amazon

Reliance Solar Shower Spary $9.99 at Target/Amazon

Camping Super Solar Shower Gaian $18.00  (They also have shower poles and shower tents.

Link to a hanging solar shower bag $11.98 at

I would add to this a list of homeless service providers in your community and a map (see Google) of their locations.   Put the  copy in a gallon size zip lock bag or laminate it.

Your local United Way web site will likely have a very complete list you can download or copy from.

Oldtimer’s comment:  Wanderingvet added a very useful comment below for a personal hygiene kit, which I’ve recopied below.  Put it all into a gallon size ziplock bag.

Personal Hygiene Kit

Tooth Brush,

Tooth Paste (recommend Tom’s of Maine)

Dental Floss (not only for flossing, for clothes line, and stringing rocks in cans around campsite in urban areas),

Plenty of Bandaids (a lot of heel blisters)


cortisone cream,

cotton swabs,

Listerine (mouth wash yes, but very antiseptic also for cuts),

deodorant (pits get stinky),

Razor (Mach3 works best), soap (love that irish spring soap shave also),

nail clippers (keep them short to keep bacteria minimal),

Anti-diarrheal tablets (you do not want the runs)

At a dollar store this list retails about $11.00

And I keep this all in a ziploc freezer bag. A Very Large One as it crushes down well for packing

You can find wandering vet’s great site here:  WanderingVet

 (Find his original comment below)

Thanks Wanderingvet



39 responses to “Help Support the Homeless – List of supplies

  1. When it comes to clothes, underware is probably the number one item needed. A lot of folks donate shirts and pants and socks but we never see underwear donated.

  2. Personal Hygiene Kit Tooth Brush, Tooth Paste (recommend Tom’s of Maine) Dental Floss (not only for flossing, for clothes line, and stringing rocks in cans around campsite in urban areas), Plenty of Bandaids (a lot of heel blisters) neosporin, cortisone cream, cotton swabs, Listerine (mouth wash yes, but very antiseptic also for cuts), deodorant (pits get stinky), Razor (Mach3 works best), soap (love that irish spring soap shave also), nail clippers (keep them short to keep bacteria minimal), Anti-diarrheal tablets (you do not want the runs) At a dollar store this list retails about $11.00.00 And I keep this all in a ziploc freezer bag. A Very Large One as it crushes down well for packing (Oldtimer’s note, he has recently moved to wordpress. The link has been changed by me to the new one)

  3. Good list. Thanks.
    We have been making hygiene kits at out chruch, will suggest them considering your list.

    I think everyone left off dental floss, listerine, cortisone cream, swabs, and razor. I use Mach3 myself. Change blades about every 4 months or so.

  4. I just want you to know how much I appreciate your site and the messages you give out. I read your articles and appreciate your insights on mine sir. On vet packs there is only one thing I can say and it is a quote from a woman vet at OSD Nashville “Not white again, they know where you spent last night by looking at you.”
    This is out of my notebook.

  5. Your site has been very useful to me as well!

    We have two homeless vets we are trying to help at our church. I met them through a small group in our church that makes breakfast for the homeless on Sunday mornings (As you know many shelters do not feed unshelterd homeless except one meal a day on weekdays, nothing on weekends).

    They have been bringing these two back to the church where I discovered that they were both veterans. Nether one knew that the VA could help them. ” When I was discharged they said my benefits were over”.

    I printed out your advice on getting a VA card and we have been helping them get their DD21d info needed and where the local VA centers are. One of them seems to be making real progress and has already taken advantage of it.

    Thanks for your help. Consider adding to your survival suggestions as that advice is really needed, tips and tricks. What to avoid, how to get emergency help or whatever works.


  6. I have another valuable item to add to the list. Duct tape, it has endless uses and is fairly cheap to buy.

  7. I have several bags of good used mens clothing shirts Xlarge and some pants 44×30. some jackets and some womans clothing . Would rather take care of a brother Vet and his wife than give to Someone to resell it. please let me know where to go with it for homless help.
    thanks JD

  8. This was a God send! This whole site …thank you for this crash course lesson I couldn’t have gotten this much info so fast if not for your site! After meeting 3 families who live in their cars in my small home town…I did some research on where to send them..and my town does NOT have a working shelter! No place to get a free hot meal either. With snow and bitter cold on the way..I’ve resolved to do something about this and am learning and doing as fast as I can to get a shelter going in my area. People are going to need it! Any advice, comments etc would be welcome. Thanks, Tina

  9. Hi,
    I run the homeless shelter directory. I love your list. I want to start incorporating this in to my site on what people should donate to area shelters.

  10. Help a group of ladies who put together shoe boxes for homeless teens at Christmas. This list provides me with some helpful suggestions for additional items we can incorporate into our project. Thanks!

  11. Thanks for the list. New on the field of helping homeless in my urban area. I need all the help I can find!

  12. Please add me in to your mailing list for homeless charity events and activities. Thanks.

  13. Hi, I have good civil and military clothes, boots, (camo pants and jackets, in quantity) from my deceased son who died at age 34. He was of medium built. He was very tidy and fussy about his clothes, so they are in very good condition, clean and no tear.
    I want to donate them, but to people that need them, not to someone that will resale them. I live in Ferndale, Mi would like to know where I can give these items.Thanks.

    • I’m sorry about your loss. He served our country and you are generous to think of others. I don’t know if you still have them, but hopefully someone in your area will find a way to get them to the right person in or near Ferndale.

  14. I was on board when we (our local churches) started Grace Chapel of Tarpon Springs. It is a homeless drop-in center. The only thing we do not allow is sleepovers. Services offered: Laundry w/TV room for waiting on laundry, hot shower w/toiletries & clean linens, breakfast, basic meal(s), resource referrals, etc. Your list is excellent, although w/women campers on the rise, we also stock women’s hygiene, i.e., Tampax, Kotex, hair detangler w/wide-tooth comb, conditioner.

  15. Thank you for the information. I am planning to personally go out and help the homeless.. and trying to organize. We have so many in the city where I live. March 2011.

  16. I have a ton of womens clothing, some childrens and mens also and am always receiving more. I wish to only give to those in need not to those that try to force the unfortunate to pay. In St. Louis looking for a constant giving location do you have any advice on where to go and thank you very much for the list have been looking long time for some specifics in need and spend alot of time collecting. This is so what life is about! Thanks!

  17. Do you know of a tent city near the Daytona Beach area?
    I often stop to help the homeless in town but it would be nice if I could give them some direction as to where more support is available but not too far away.

  18. I would like to donate some of my time helping at a homeless shelter. Can someone help me out. In Cincinnati where is the shelters?

  19. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been here and posted. Not since 2009 and let me say, things have been hopping. Now, rather than being in a very small town with NO working shelter…I’m in the middle of Phoenix, Arizona. I see homeless folks on a daily basis and the ones I’ve stopped to speak to seem more surprised that I sit next to them, offer a hand shake and always a cold bottle of water. The faces of the homeless are changing rapidly as more and more families are loosing their homes. Many have no idea where to go or how to get help.

    Recently I got my hands on a second vehicle. Now, with my old, worn out van, I decided rather than sell it I’d turn it into a mobile care unit. I took all but the very front seats out and collected toiletries, bedding, canned foods with pull tops, bottles of water and power aid drinks. Along one side of the van are coolers lined up and daily we ice several cases of water and drinks down. We have baggies with heygiene products as listed above, only we get local motels/hotels and hospitals to donate travel size items. We also have medical supplies and as often as possible we have nurses and home health aids who know how to deal with wounds and such ride with us. When we see someone in need, we stop. We talk to them, let them tell their stories and tell us what they need. We don’t give out money, but we do give them resources…and we let them use our cell phones to make calls if needed.

    The supplies don’t cost much, the gas is the most expensive thing we need most times. SO..just thought I’d share that with you. Maybe give someone else some ideas.

  20. After housing and supporting my 60 yr homeless and unemployed brother for the past 22 months I have told him he has to return to SC where he once worked/lived. I can not afford to continue on my own meager income of $10k and have spent over $22k on his expenses and debts to move him here. He will leave for Charleston next week and I wondered if anyone can suggest where he should go for assistance once there? He will live in his car, if need be, as he did before his arrival in NJ but I hope he can connect with some shelter or boarding house instead. Thank youfor the info on this site it has been helpful to me to learn what he should take along.

  21. I have stayed in Seattle, WA five months and found that encountering the homeless has become a daily event. It truly breaks my heart. This last post about the mobile care unit is wonderful. I am working to get “winter kits” together for the homeless that will face the winter, including quilts and hygiene kits, and reading this page just made me more passionate.

  22. Agree this site is a god-send. My husband and I want to get a ministry to homeless off the ground from the church we attend, where we would supply showers (we have several for both men and women off the church gym that do not get utilized) serve a hot meal, give out care bags like the ones you’ve detailed here, just show them we love them, try to get them into shelters if they want to go, etc. I just started doing my research so we can present the plan to our pastor who is already aware of our desire. I knew I had to get busy today and somehow landed on this site after doing the basics of jotting down shelter locations. I would be interested in seeing/hearing how others make this kind of thing work, how many volunteers you utilize, how often you provide the services, security, etc. Thanks!

  23. hey i like to say thankyou for what you are doing and you efforts! keep enduring and helping and serving! you are great soul! inspired!

  24. Thank you each and everyone for your contribution.. Several people I know are currently helping a homeless family. It has been difficult. They currently have shelter which I feel sure will dissappear. What i have noticed is persons in the beginning think they deserve help. Yet as they begin working without knowing even if they will get paid..People start by saying stand on their own. I get that. Well 6 days working at a motel switching off taking care of 3 children 3 and under, no money. They have not asked for anything. Food is all that has been donated and time searching for this motel. A small church paid one week rent. To get everyone to understand it takes longer than 6 days to recover from being on the streets is at most difficult. I have called ll the resources (appears to be many) and nothing. “Our Father” not just those I approve of or that do the right things is what I find. Okay I know that to help them be independent you have to pull back and let them learn. Well ,trust is a hard lesson to learn from people that are homeless. They haven’t ask for nothing not even food.Yet I have watched as before they have even 2 weeks and get their first pay check one by one fall away. They are not doing enough. well it takes time. They are not me. Help them because you want too. If they refuse to try there is nothing you can do.
    Thank you

  25. Thanks for the helpful list. I have decided to sponsor a homesless gentleman by the name of Mr. Mike. I asked him his sizes and what he needs this afternoon. He only said a few basic things, but I know that he needs everything on your list and more. Thank you for allowing to help this gentlemen on a deeper level.

  26. I just want to say, all of you out here are so very caring God Bless you all. I have taken in homeless all my life and most of them have been my own family or people I know. The last two were my homeless and very ill brother. He is a Viet Nam vet. He served two tours over there and when he came home he was never the same. His life was filled with drugs and then liquer. In the last 10 years he finally seemed to get it together some what. He had a job and a place to live , then one day they carried him out of work and he found himself in the hospital in need of a pace maker. By the grace of God he got the surgery he so badly needed but in the mean time he lost his job and his home. He is a single man. He went to live with his daughter and found that she and her husband were both on drugs. I got a phone call from the daughter that she had put him on a bus and sent him to me. We picked him up at the bus station and when he got to the house, I couldn’t believe what I saw. This was a man of 6′ 8″ tall and he didn’t weigh more than 175 lb. The shoes he had on were a size too small and all he had in the world he carried in a sports bag ! This was a man of 60 yrs. old. We talked and all he wanted was to be able to stay by himself and be his own person. I assured him that I loved him and together we would get him back on his feet. My experience has told me that this will normaly take 6 months or so. First I got him to the VA for medical help. Then we applied for his disability SS. He had glasses that he couldn’t see out of because in trying to fix them when he was drunk he got super glue all over the glass. My husband was able to get most of it off and that some what improved his ability to see. Then we got him a new pair of shoes. Little by little he got better. He put on weight and eventually his SS came through and it was retro active so it gave him a little money to work with to get himself some new cloths he needed and I made him go and get his new glasses before he did anything else. I knew he would not stay now that he had some income and he would go all the way back to Michigan. He came out one day and said well sis I’m going back to Mich. today ! I told him I knew it was coming and I was going to miss him but I also knew it was important to him to do his thing ! We made a list of things he should do as soon as he got there as far as taking care of getting his checks, and getting housing and medical help. He had bought a small used truck and that is what he was goingto use to go home in. He left and got back home just fine and managed to secure himself a mobile home to live in and he got a phone and set up his bank account and VA, appointments and he has done alright since. He went back to smoking and drinking when he left here but I also knew he would , however this time he is taking much better care of himself than he ever has before. He is dealing with his life on his own. He is not perfect but noe of us are. All he wanted from me was a hand up. That is what he got and he has been very greatfull. I just keep im in my prayers. The other person of late that we have helped is a young woman with a 8 year old son. We knew her and she was out in Calif. She wanted to come back home but didn’t have a place to stay once she got here. I told her that she could stay with us till she got on her feet if she could get the plane fare to come back here ! She did and came here to live. She was a big help to me while she was here and she got her GED and a job and within about 6 months she too was on her own. My point is don’t expect to change a persons life in a short time, and don’t expect praise and thanks. They are thankful but most of the time they are more interrested in getting out on their own so they can live their life their own way. It may not be the best way but it is their way and with the grace of God it will work out for them. This young woman comes around to visit often and seems to be happy with her own life. It is not the way I would run my life but it is her way. She is happy and doing just fine. Be willing to give help and love and then let them do their own thing…. As long as they can work and do their own thing they will be happy. Also some people are happiest in a homeless setting for some reason. I find they seem to have a mental illness and it is their way. Simply try to help them be safe and supply them with the necessities. They most of the time want to just be left alone. Offer them what ever you can , give them info. on programs that might help them and maybe even transportation to get to the help, but don’t try to force them to do what you think they should do. Your offer of caring and love goes a long way with most all people. God Bless you all.

  27. i am homeless and so is my husband we need:
    dog food
    top ramen (easy for homeless to make and carry)
    dog sweaters
    personnel hygiene items
    coffee instant perferrably

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