Kits limit choices.
We don’t assume to know what someone needs to make it through the next few days. These are grown adults who can choose to take a shampoo bottle instead of deodorant if they don’t need it or want it. It may seem like a small decision but it’s an empowering one.
Keep this in mind: People who are homeless get told what to do a lot.
“Get in line here then go to that line over there.”
“Do not rest in this spot.”
“Fill out this form if you want help.”
The list goes on …
As for why we limit it to one item per bin: There are a lot of people waiting in our line each month. In fact, in March 2017 we broke a new record with 237 individuals served.
Serving more than 100 people in less than an hour is the norm. Limiting it to one item per bin helps us (try to) make sure there’s something for everyone. Most of the time we still run out.
There are times when it feels like there are not enough items to help everyone but we remind ourselves that even though what we’re doing won’t solve the systemic problem of homelessness, it might make the next few days a little easier for some people to get by.