Almost all children like to get gifts, but some of them have few opportunities to even own something of their own. Poor children and particularly homeless ones miss out on many of the gifts and holidays other children enjoy.
Three Basic Tips for Selecting Appropriate Presents:
- Whatever you give as gifts to homeless children, keep in mind that they will have to carry or wear everything they own, sometimes for hours and hours each day. Keep the items small, light, and easy to wear or carry.
– Avoid toys with small parts that could easily be lost, otherwise, it’s likely the child will only have part of a toy in a very short time.
– Avoid anything that looks or actually is expensive. Expensive-looking toys, electronics, clothes, or shoes can make a child a target for theft, vandalism, or harassment.
Winter Coats – Winter coats are often in short supply at charities as children quickly outgrow them and not enough people donate them. A fun winter coat makes an excellent gift.
Winter Hats – Warm knit hats in colors for boys or girls or in neutral tones are always welcome. Hats often get lost by children, homeless or not, and having more than one hat helps to keep hair clean.
Gloves and Mittens – No matter the season, anyone who might be sleeping outdoors or in a car at some point would welcome a pair of gloves or mittens to help them stay warm.
Stuffed Toys – Some stuffed toys can double as pillows, blankets, or pajama storage bags. Multipurpose stuffed toys are great because they serve multiple functions and take up the same space as a single function item.
Coloring Books and Crayons – Homeless children can quickly learn to put the crayons right back into the box after each use. Even if they lose some of the crayons, even a single crayon can keep a kid engaged and entertained if he or she has something to color or draw on.
Pens and Pencils – Pens and pencils are very practical choices. They are small and easily carried. Pens or pencils on cords or lanyards make the best gifts of this type.
Toys – Small stuffed animals, cars, dolls, and single piece logic puzzle toys are very popular and provide much-needed entertainment, comfort, and mental stimulation.
Books – Age appropriate books make thoughtful gifts for little ones. Avoid books with pop-up pictures as they will come apart much more quickly than regular books.
Backpacks – Sturdy backpacks make some of the most useful presents. A backpack leaves hands free to do other things and makes carrying things around a lot less of a chore.
Pajamas – One-size-fits-most footed pajamas make wonderful gifts for them. Regular pajamas are good, too, and are much easier to find. There’s something especially comforting about soft, cuddly sleepwear.
Hygiene Products – While very practical, hygiene products often also have a sense of fun that is often lacking in kids’ lives. Children also like to have something of their own, even if it’s just a toothbrush, comb or hairbrush. Grooming kits that come in their own little bag or case make ideal gifts for homeless children.
Fleece Blankets and Fleece Blankets with Sleeves – Fleece wearable blankets can be layered even over coats to help with staying warm while outside in cold weather or when sleeping in unheated or under-heated accommodations.