CareCom, inc. began business operations in September, 2019, having been incorporated the year prior. We wanted to offer practical help to the homeless, beyond giving handing over a dollar or two when encountering them along the way. We asked several what (beyond $$) we could provide them as assistance. CarePak contents were developed in response to these suggestions. Consequently, our first “Pack” took place the following month, as we gathered to put together the initial 100 CarePaks.
After our team prepared the 100 CarePaks, we divided them among ourselves for distribution to the homeless populations in Nashville and in Memphis. In this blog post we will share our experiences handing out our first round of CarePaks.
Having worked in the downtown area of Nashville for several years, I was well acquainted of a small park wherein the homeless gather amidst the hustle and bustle of working passersby. After parking at the nearby downtown YMCA, I loaded by backpack with a dozen CarePaks and a case of water; hiked down to the park and took my perch on one of the many benches. It didn’t take long for the them to figure out my mission. Soon I had distributed the contents of my backpack and made a return trip to Jeep at the Y for a refill. Within about an hour or so, I had handed out two dozen CarePaks. We always exchanged first names occasionally accompanied by a short exchange.
Impressions: I was surprised by the number of homeless women on the street. I think it it is much harder for them than it is for the men. Virtually all recipients were receptive and grateful. The homeless folks I ran into ranged from extremely engaging and articulate to dissociative and rambling. Overall, I was impacted anew by the shear number of indigent among us; especially at a time wherein we, as a nation, are experiencing relative prosperity and low unemployment.
We planned to prepare and distribute three rounds of CarePaks before the end of the year; early October, before Thanksgiving and before Christmas. We created 100 CarePaks for round 1 and are preparing 500 for round 2. We were able to get more “bang for the buck” by obtaining a tax exemption certification and a warehouse membership.
CarePak # 2 Contents
Bumble Bee Tuna/Chicken Snacks (2), Clif Bars, Belvita Cinnamon Breakfast Biscuit, Fig Bars, Cheese Sandwich Crackers, Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers, Granola Bars (2), Peanuts, GoldFish, Oreos (pkg of 6), Doritos, Chips & Asst. (1), Water Flavors (2), Antibacterial Wipes (4), Book of St. John
A wonderful, purposeful Thanksgiving week event as we joined together to prepare 500 CarePaks for the homeless. Many family members were able to join in; adults and children alike. Everyone worked hard, completing all the packing in less than 4 hours. We all had a lot of fun though. A job well done followed by a lovely common meal and short meeting of the newly formed Board of Directors, facilitated by our Chair: Gabrielle Thompson.
In addition to direct distribution to the homeless by CareCom team members, our goal is to support other noteworthy organizations. To that end we are excited to announce our first partner – The Contributor – headed by Executive Director Cathy Jennings.
Founded in 2007, The Contributor is a nonprofit, social enterprise in Nashville that was created to provide an earned income opportunity for homeless and formerly homeless individuals. Vendors interview, train, and purchase newspapers for $.50 and sell it for $2.00. By building their newspaper sales micro businesses, vendors create community with their customers and gain a restored sense of purpose, pride and dignity. The Contributor street paper is printed twice a month and offers news and information from a different perspective than other media outlets.
We have the privilege of supporting this great organization by providing CarePaks for their 150-200 street Vendors this coming Wednesday before Thanksgiving. We are excited about this new growth opportunity!
Contact us for more information and for volunteering opportunities. Also, feel free to email, call or write. Thank you for your interest!
A GuideStar Seal of Transparency indicates that a nonprofit has provided key information in its Nonprofit Profile. By providing up-to-date information, nonprofits allow potential donors and funders to make educated decisions about the work they do to make the world a better place. In 2019, CareCom, Inc. has received the Bronze, Silver and Gold GuideStar Seals of Transparency. Please visit GuideStar to view our most recent program and financial information: https://www.guidestar.org/profile/82-3885367