The other day was my birthday. When my princess asked me what I wanted, I told her I didn't know, and I'd think about it. When I finally realized what I wanted, I'm pretty sure it surprised her almost as much as it surprised me.
I wanted homeless kits.
A while back, I read this post about things you can get for the homeless. The author is a woman who was once homeless herself, so I figure she'd know. Believe it or not, the homeless don't just want cheap whiskey and tools with which to kill and cook cats. Just for the record, though, if I'm ever homeless, you guys feel free to give me whiskey and cat-killin' tools.
But if you want to help real homeless people instead of just feline-murdering alcoholics, you can get them things like hand warmers and gloves and hats and food. Weird, I know, but like I said--this lady would know better than me.
So while I was in the shower, thinking about what I wanted for my birthday, I realized that I already had so much more than a lot of other people. And Christmas is right around the corner, so it's not like I won't get any presents at all, right?
Plus--and this is mostly for you fellas out there--you tell your woman that for your birthday, you just want to give to the less fortunate, it's like an instant pantie-dropper. Am I saying you will automatically get laid? No. Am I saying that it's totally worth the gamble? Yes. Yes I am.
In fact, I think Fate even got a little moist in the underpants about this idea, because as soon as I decided that this was what I wanted to do, I got all kinds of crazy awesome stuff from everyone, even though they didn't know about my decision, and good things started happening.
So, yeah, I definitely recommend using your next birthday to buy and distribute homeless kits. Although I should probably wait to recommend the distributing part of that equation, since I haven't done it yet, and maybe I'll get shivved.
What's that? You want a little guidance? Well you're in luck, kids. You should really go over and read Kylyssa's article--she's less wordy than I am, and a lot more informative. But in case you want your guidance peppered with filthy language and bad jokes, I'll go ahead and offer you a little of my own. Before I do, though, I should mention that Kylyssa has all kinds of links that make it incredibly easy to buy the stuff she suggests buying.
I had my shopping basket loaded before I realized that the shipping was going to murder me. So even though this stuff is priced higher at the brick and mortar stores, it saved me a little money to buy it there. If you live far away from big discount stores, you might consider ordering online. Using the links from Kylyssa's page gets her a little dough, so if you're gonna buy this shit online, please go through her page. The one I conveniently linked to above. This one.
So here's what I bought:
I went to Dollar Tree first. This is where I got the hand sanitizer (3 bottles in a pack--$1), the antibacterial wipes (3 travel packs per package--$1), the granola bars (4 bars per box--$1), the peanut butter crackers (6 4-packs in each box--$1), and the bandages (25 per box--$1). I also got a couple packs of combs, but when I got home, I found that they were so shitty that I'm almost too embarrassed to give them away. If you're gonna make a homeless kit, I would suggest skipping the dollar pack of combs and getting something like Chapstick or ibuprofen. I was hoping to get the gloves and the hats there, too, but it was a no-go, so I went to Academy.
I was able to get the hand warmers ($7.99 per pack of 20) and the hats ($1.99 each) at Academy, but they only had one of the blanket things ($2), which was something I really wanted in each kit.
So I set out to Target. I got socks (10 pair per pack--$6.99), gloves ($1 per pair in the discount display), another few blankets ($2.69 each), and a Christmas present for my nephews. That last one isn't going in the homeless kit, by the way.
I wanted some more blankets, and I was pretty sure my neighborhood supermarket carried them. I was wrong, but while I was there, I remembered that I needed water, so it all worked out.
If you're not interested in spending a ton of money (and the reason I posted the prices above is to show that you can do quite a bit of good with a small amount of cash), or making a gigantic kit, I suggest socks and a bit of food--that's what all the homeless guys I've talked to have said they wanted (aside from money), and that author who was homeless also mentions both of these things.
So that's what I did tonight.
I gradually ran out of stuff to put in the bags, so by the end, it was just a pair of socks, a comb, and a bottle of water. Which is really random and weird, if you don't realize that you're just getting scraps. I feel like I'm gonna give this to some homeless dude and he'll just be scared of me from then on, thinking I'm the guy who's obsessed with clean feet, hydration, and good hair.
So look...maybe after reading this, you'll want to do something like this. Maybe you'll be inspired and go out and do something nice for your fellow human being this holiday season. Maybe you'll think, "If an asshole like Ray can do it, I can be a little more charitable right now." Maybe you'll realize it's not that difficult to help the less fortunate. You don't have to run a marathon for the hungry, you don't have to buy a shitpile of cans to drop in the box, you don't even have to wear a rubber bracelet of any kind. All you have to do is care, and do a little something with that caring.
Maybe that's how it'll go. Me, I got to confuse the hell out of Fate, I got to build up a little Karma, I got to be a hero in the eyes of my princess, and I got a Strangelands post out of it.
Which is basically why I do everything I do.