jennifer garner, help the homeless, homeless care package

Jennifer Garner's Ziploc care package.

Homelessness has been on the increase in America since 2016 and the numbers exploded in 2020. On a single night in January 2020, there were more than 580,000 individuals who were without a home.

There are many reasons for the increase in homelessness and one of the leading causes is a lack of affordable housing across the country. Housing prices have been on a steady increase and, according to PBS, we are about 7 million units short of affordable housing in the country.

So what can the average person do about this human tragedy taking place in America’s streets? Some people who would like to help don’t feel comfortable giving money to homeless people, although experts in the field say that most of the time it is OK.

“If you don’t have money or time, or capacity to donate, I still think it’s nice to be respectful and say hello,” Diane O’Connell, a community lawyer for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, told the Chicago Tribune.


Actress Jennifer Garner, 49, shared a great idea on Instagram for those who would like to help homeless people but aren’t sure how to do so.

The actress posted a video where she filled zip-up plastic bags with everyday items that homeless people need.

"Random act of kindness: gather these essentials in a quart sized ziploc bag and keep them in your car to give away when you see someone in need,” she captioned the post. “A pair of thick socks. Kleenex. Hand wipes. Disposable toothbrushes. Chapstick. A couple of granola bars. I forgot this time, but like to add feminine hygiene products, too. Add $5, $10, $20 and a smile.”

For those not comfortable giving money, they can put a gift card in the bag for a local restaurant. O’Connell says that one thing most homeless people desperately need is a hot meal.

“Simple, cheap foods like bagels and doughnuts aren't that helpful,” O’Connell said. “People who are homeless can usually buy things like that for themselves." Often what people experiencing homelessness need is a hot meal, she said, because that’s more difficult for them to buy.

Greendrop says that the items most commonly requested by homeless people are socks and undergarments. Homeless people are always walking and have a hard time accessing laundry facilities so their socks and undergarments are often dirty or falling apart.

Here are some other items that will help make homeless people more comfortable:

Shampoo and conditioner

Toothpaste

Hair brushes and toothbrushes

Soap

Lotions

Nail clippers

Feminine hygiene products

Reusable containers

Garner’s Ziploc bag tip is a great idea because it’s a simple way for people to lend a hand when they encounter someone on the streets. How many times have you been driving around, saw someone in need, but didn’t have any way to help? This way you can easily brighten someone’s day when you see them at a freeway on-ramp or in a parking lot without having to ask yourself whether you feel comfortable giving them money.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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