Depending on where I’m going in LA I sometimes run into Hoover towns. I know we don’t call them Hoover towns anymore. What should we call them? What is a modern name for the tents and cardboard boxes that house our city’s homeless population under freeway overpasses and along back alleyways?
If the kids are in the car they will ask questions or point people out. They are usually awed or confused by the people they see. I began to realize while listening to their conversations that they don’t view the homeless population as peers – fellow human beings. To my kids they are Homeless People. Like a different breed of person somehow.
It opened up a conversation about how homeless people are just regular people like us, that didn’t have the comfort of a home to go to for safety and care. I asked them to imagine how their day would play out if they didn’t have their house. Where would they go pee in the morning? Brush their teeth? Eat breakfast? What if they got sick?
I hope thinking about these things helped open their eyes to the plight of their fellow man. My kids are arguably spoiled children. If they go hungry to bed it’s not because they don’t have access to food, but because they refused the organic vegetable dish set before them. If they are cold, it’s not because they have no jacket, but because they refused to put it on over their new favorite shirt. Their biggest danger in the night is tripping over the mountain of toys in their messy room as they stumble to the bathroom.
After our chat I took them to the store to help me piece together some comfort kits. Now we keep them in the car, and if we ever happen upon someone who looks like they could use some comfort, we offer them a kit.
I will admit to feeling like a pretentious ass-hole, driving around in my space shuttle minivan, handing out comfort kits like some egomaniacal douche. I hope my actions aren’t viewed as such. These kits were made with love, and given in the hopes of providing someone with a small amount of, well, comfort.
*non perishable snacks – granola bars, apple sauce, crackers, fruit strips, maybe something sweet like a small candy bar.
*toothbrush & toothpaste. Floss is good too.
*a hand towel or cloth of some sort
*tampons and pads
I also had a few large, strong bags that could hold quite a bit of stuff. I included those in a few kits. A large bag always comes in handy.
You can also throw in a few bucks. Five bucks can be the difference between a good day and a bad day for someone.