Help for the Homeless: Goody Bags with Treats & Personal Care Items

Unfortunately, in our area we have many homeless people. It is very likely that you will see one at each intersection and at on/off ramps near the interstate. We used to give them cash or go and get them something to eat. Then one day my husband was able to sit down to have a conversation with a man who was homeless. He discovered that they lacked many of the things we take advantage of each and every day. Things like blankets, toothbrushes, and soap.

Not long after that divine meeting my husband and I purchased several items that we knew a homeless person would be able to use. We put them in plastic baggies because we figured they could use that over and over. We now keep these bags in the car at all times and if we see someone asking for money, we simply grab a bag and ask the person, “Hey. Do you know of anyone who could use this stuff?” They either take it for themselves or take it for a friend. Either way they are always thankful.

Some of the things we include in the bags are:

  • fruit juice or water
  • healthy snacks
  • socks
  • wipes
  • toothpaste
  • toothbrush
  • tissues
  • knit cap
  • deodorant
  • soap
  • chapstick
  • sunscreen
  • pen
  • paper
  • a  note of encouragement

Most of these items are less than a dollar or free with sales/coupons. Each bag costs us less than $10. I’m sure we could be more elaborate but this meets the need and gives us a way to help that is beneficial to them and affordable for us.

What do you do when you see a  homeless person? Do you give them something similar? We’d love to have more ideas of how we can help.


  1. Great idea. Also, you could add tampons and pads to some. And condoms.

  2. sophia says:

    I’ve been homeless before and one of the main things that are needed is socks.. they get worn out really fast and another thing though I know it might be a little expensive depending is flashlights with batteries. They are always needed out on the streets..

  3. Thank you for encouraging all of us to remember that there are practical ways to help people. You inspire me.

  4. love this idea! my bible study group has been looking into service projects… and i’ll be suggesting this to everyone!

  5. Such an awesome idea. I noticed in the picture granola bars which are great idea except alot of homeless people have serious dental problems and would have alot of trouble eating with how hard those bars are.

  6. kalynbr00ke says:

    What a great idea! I always have these kind of products lying around.

  7. I love this idea, Amy. We just moved to an area that sounds a lot like yours. I have given out cash here and there but I never know what is right – and then I feel guilty for not helping someone out that might really be in need. I am going to implement this idea right away. Now I have a use for my toiletry stockpile!

  8. This is a fabulous idea!!!

  9. Angela Ayaz says:

    Thank you so much for this post. As someone who doesn’t give money – but will definetly give food or diapers or clothes, this idea just adds to my ability to help. I have many times passed someone, pulled into the nearest fast food restraunt and grabbed a value meal, then by the time I went back the person had disappeared. Having these bags ready in the car would show the homeless that we aren’t just giving out of guilt, but that we had thought ahead and truly cared about them. And you are so right, many of the things you listed can be gotten free with coupons. I will making up a bag of these ASAP. I sincerely thank you for the wonderful idea.

  10. This is a wonderful idea! And much more helpful than giving them some loose change.

  11. Thanks for this post, Amy! Love this idea. I’ve given people a bag with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a piece of fruit, and a drink. Sometimes if I don’t have this in the car, I’ll go to a hamburger stand and get a sandwich and a chocolate milk. Your bags are fantastic! I’m going to stock up on these items and get prepared, too!

  12. We have a lot of homeless in my area, too…and I see them most often at the beach or near the ocean. Hey, EVERYONE loves the water here…and my only thought is that I’m thankful there’s safe places for them to go and relax during the day time. I’ve not encountered any lately…and I ‘m not sure what I would do. However, I think this idea of the bags with the practical items is FABULOUS. When I was still living in Oregon, we had some homeless people that would come to our church from time to time. We got to know them. I gave one guy my backpack. His was totally thrashed. While mine wasn’t new, it was definitely in like-new condition. He loved it… 🙂 🙂 Thanks for the great ideas in your post today 🙂 Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather 🙂

  13. When we lived in Orlando, FL my husband and I kept a box of brown bag lunches in our cars. These included water or juice, fruit cups, granola bars, Vienna sausages, pudding and plastic utensils. We now live in a more remote area and you do not find too many homeless on the street corners. That doesn’t mean they are not here though. There is a wonderful non-profit in town that has a weekly dinner for the needy. They, also, have a “store” where people can get clothing, toiletries, etc.

    Just love that you are giving your plastic bags out!

  14. Oh i also shared on Pinterest. Thanks again!

  15. This is a great idea! One corner that I pass daily will often have a homeless person even in my Minnesota winter. I have given money but often wonder if something else would be more helpful. I’m going to do this!! Thanks!

  16. Amy this is a great idea. I have shared it on facebook. thanks for sharing this with us.


  1. […] Help for the Homeless: Goody Bags with Treats and Personal Care Items from Amy Bayliss […]

  2. […] to others. Invite the pals over to work together on a project for others. You could put together goodie bags for the homeless by having everyone bring a different item, bagging up the essentials, and then going as a group to […]

  3. […] to others. Invite the pals over to work together on a project for others. You could put together goodie bags for the homeless by having everyone bring a different item, bagging up the essentials, and then going as a group to […]

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