SUCCESS! 2nd Annual Homeless Care Package Project

Just over 3 months since I initially announced our 2nd Annual Project, and just over a month after I posted our halfway update, I am back with our final wrap up!

If you don’t know what the HCPP is, it is an annual project that I started in 2021. I fundraise money via social media to create and purchase items to include in backpacks to give to those experiencing homelessness. For more information, I invite you to check out the first HCPP blog.

If you read my halfway update, you know I wasn’t very optimistic that we’d be able to include sweatshirts this year – which was fine since the majority of our bags were going to those in a shelter. However, the stars aligned, WE HIT OUR GOAL, and we included sweatshirts!

Yeah, you read that right. Our initial goal of $1500? Reached.

Is that more than we raised last year? YES!

A prime example of “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish”. Because it’s always about how you finish – in anything – work, life, projects, etc. We may have started out on the slower end, but we ended with a bang.

We started this project on November 1st and accepted donations until December 26th. In that time frame we raised…

$1,604.57!! This is about $300 more than we raised in our first year and marks the first time we’ve reached and surpassed our goal. To say I am amazed is an understatement.

Without the function of a Facebook fundraiser, I was nervous we wouldn’t have as many donations since it might be “less trustworthy” than sending a payment directly to me through Venmo or Cashapp. However, last year Venmo was our #1 donation platform, and while they were a very close 2nd this year, Paypal actually was our top platform this year accounting for almost 40% of contributions!

We also received more cash donations this year since I worked with various local groups/businesses. We had a total of 4 groups/businesses work with us:

  • D’Eliana’s Public Market and Deli posted our flyer at their register and collected donations
  • Glastonbury Newcomers & Neighbors group donated the backpacks, collected food/snack donations from their community, and helped me pack all the bags
  • Girl Scout Troop 10604 donated, made cards to include in every backpack, and also helped me pack all the bags
  • Cup Scout Pack 47 donated over 30 bags of Salted Caramel Popcorn to include in the shelter drop off

We had a lot less donators this year, but the average donation amount was way more averaging $148! I suppose it truly is quality over quantity that matters, and I am so blessed that there are people who believe in and want to support my passion project.

My project is social media based so I try to post consistent updates to not only keep the people in the know but to also keep the algorithm on top of my posts. I just posted the last video for this year’s project to announce this post going out, which means I’ve created a total of 21 videos. These videos have gotten posted to my Tiktok, my Instagram story, our HCPP Facebook page, and my LinkedIn. Due to the fact that we had fewer donators this year, I actually can’t determine if there is a direct correlation between video updates and donations received. I would say yes – towards the middle of the project. The beginning few updates and last few updates didn’t result in many, if any, donations soon after they were posted.

I am excited to say, though, that 45% of donators also contributed to last year’s project! I hope we will continue to see more and more people return each year as the project goes on.

Nearly all of the items in our bags were purchased from a variety of places including Amazon, Dollar Tree, Walmart, Costco, and Wholesale Sock Deals. Similar to last year, I decided we would make bags of certain items to not only make it easier to pack, but to also keep certain items separate from the others in the event anything broke, leaked, or made a mess. We did:

  • Feminine Care Bags that included pads and tampons
  • First Aid Bags that included bandaids, gauze, alcohol wipes, and antibiotic ointment
  • Hygiene Wet Bags that included mouthwash, lotion, shampoo, and body wash
  • Wet Food Bags that included a capri sun, applesauce, pudding/jello, chicken salad kit, an apple, mini Chef Boyardee, fruit cup, and peanut butter
  • Dry Food Bags that had a variety of items including, but not limited to, granola/protein bars, gum, cereal, chips, fruit snacks, pretzels, Little Bites, trail mix, beef jerky, pretzels, pop tars, and peanuts.

These bags accounted for most of the items in the backpacks, but they also received 2 bottles of water, a sweatshirt, a pair of gloves, a beanie, a scarf, toothbrushes, toothpastes, tissues, combs, deodorant, a cup of noodles, a handmade card, and of course, the backpack itself.

Since we brought nearly all of our bags to CRTCT‘s East Hartford Shelter, we did make 12 of the 48 bags “kids” bags. The only difference between the kids bags and adults bags is the kids ones are receiving a youth medium jacket (instead of a sweatshirt) and 10/12 bags will also be receiving one of my children’s books!

I set aside 8 bags so that I could still give those to individuals I see out on the street in my local areas. I do believe it brings a different feeling than bringing the bags to a shelter, even though both situations are greatly appreciated and helpful. I was able to hand out 3 to individuals close to where I work as well as another bag to an individual in front of a Dunkin. This left me with 4 bags remaining by the time I got connected with Gerry.

Gerry is another individual in my local community heavily involved in helping the homeless. He always keeps his truck full of necessity items, visits soup kitchens and shelters, and goes out into the community to hand out various items to those in need. We were put in contact with one another, and he will be giving out the backpacks the next time he goes out. We exchanged contact information as I would like to try and work together in the future since he has the knowledge of “hot spots” where most people congregate together, which is something I lack.

I’ve been asked a few times for a full item list of what’s included in my bags, so you can find the 2022 list here. Anything that was purchased online is hyperlinked so you can click on the item to bring you to the direct page. The list also breaks down into categories so you can see what each of the bags included. If you are interested in watching any of our updates/posts, you can find all of our videos (from 2021 and 2022) on our Facebook Page! After not having one central location for all of our videos last year, I thought it would be a good idea to make this page (instead of one long youtube video). This page will continue to be the “central hub” for all posts in one place! Be sure to follow so you don’t miss out on future announcements/projects.

As a final wrap up, I can’t believe our 2nd Annual Project has come and gone already. I’m in utter amazement that we not only reached our goal, but surpassed it, thanks to all of our amazing contributors. Read until the end for a list of our donators! I can only hope, pray, and dream that our project continues to grow more and more each year as it finds more people who feel aligned with it.

I – quite literally – could not do it without you all, so from the bottom of my heart, I give the BIGGEST thank you<3

We even ended up with a little bit of donations after getting everything we need, and a poll determined the people wanted to roll it over into the next project. So we will be starting our 3rd Annual later this year already ahead with $83.22!

If you have any questions, comments, feedback, ideas, anything that you’d like to share with me, please feel free to comment below on this post, DM me on our FB page or my Instagram, or email me at brittney@traudtstwocents.com. I am always open to suggestions and thoughts from others on how we can improve this project even more!

As I think ahead for next year’s project, I might do somethings different, so I invite you to ponder/answer the questions below and let me know what you think!

  1. Do you think we should continue to partner with organizations/shelters or revert back to only handing out bags to those on the streets?
    • Gerry has this knowledge, so I think we’d have a better chance when working with him
  2. Do you think we should start our project 1 month earlier (Oct 1 instead of Nov 1) and end in the beginning of December (instead of January)?
    • This would allow us to accept donations from Oct 1 – Nov 30, giving us a full 2 months as well as a “hard stop” date. Then I’d pack the bags and hand them out in December, ideally before Christmas.
  3. Should we allow participation from other groups/organizations in partnership with our project or should we keep it strictly donation based similar to 2021?
    • In 2021, all items were either purchased by me using donated funds or purchased via our Amazon Wishlist. This year, we had a couple groups accept items to include in our bags as well as help pack the bags.
  4. What is one thing you would recommend/suggest/change for future projects?

As always, thank you for reading! See below for our donor shoutout and be sure to subscribe so you never miss a post!

This Year’s Project Would Not Be Possible Without The Following People:

  • Jennifer
  • Stephanie
  • Cindy
  • Dottie
  • Virginia
  • David
  • Alison
  • D’Eliana Public Market and Deli
  • Glastonbury Newcomers & Neighbors
  • Girl Scout Troop 10604
  • Ginnie
  • Michelle
  • Cup Scout Pack 47
  • Barbara
  • Gerry

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