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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.

Brandon Conway sounds remarkably like Michael Jackson when he sings.

When Michael Jackson died 13 years ago, the pop music world lost a legend. However markedly mysterious and controversial his personal life was, his contributions to music will go down in history as some of the most influential of all time.

Part of what made him such a beloved singer was the uniqueness of his voice. From the time he was a young child singing lead for The Jackson 5, his high-pitched vocals stood out. Hearing him sing live was impressive, his pitch-perfect performances always entertaining.

No one could ever really be compared to MJ, or so we thought. Out of the blue, a guy showed up on TikTok recently with a casual performance that sounds so much like the King of Pop it's blowing people away.

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1989 video brings back strong memories for Gen Xers who came of age in the '80s.

It was the year we saw violence in Tiananmen Square and the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. The year we got Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally" and Michael Keaton in Tim Burton's "Batman." The year "Seinfeld" and "The Simpsons" debuted on TV, with no clue as to how successful they would become. The year that gave us New Kids on the Block and Paula Abdul while Madonna and Janet Jackson were enjoying their heyday.

The jeans were pegged, the shoulders were padded and the hair was feathered and huge. It was 1989—the peak of Gen X youth coming of age.

A viral video of a group of high school students sitting at their desks in 1989—undoubtedly filmed by some geeky kid in the AV club who probably went on to found an internet startup—has gone viral across social media, tapping straight into Gen X's memory banks. For those of us who were in high school at the time, it's like hopping into a time machine.

The show "Stranger Things" has given young folks of today a pretty good glimpse of that era, but if you want to see exactly what the late '80s looked like for real, here it is:

Oh so many mullets. And the Skid Row soundtrack is just the icing on this nostalgia cake. (Hair band power ballads were ubiquitous, kids.)

I swear I went to high school with every person in this video. Like, I couldn't have scripted a more perfect representation of my classmates (which is funny considering that this video came from Paramus High School in New Jersey and I went to high school on the opposite side of the country).

Comments have poured in on Reddit from both Gen Xers who lived through this era and those who have questions.

First, the confirmations:

"Can confirm. I was a freshman that year, and not only did everyone look exactly like this (Metallica shirt included), I also looked like this. 😱😅"

"I graduated in ‘89, and while I didn’t go to this school, I know every person in this room."

"It's like I can virtually smell the AquaNet and WhiteRain hairspray from here...."

"I remember every time you went to the bathroom you were hit with a wall of hairspray and when the wind blew you looked like you had wings."

Then the observations about how differently we responded to cameras back then.

"Also look how uncomfortable our generation was in front of the camera! I mean I still am! To see kids now immediately pose as soon as a phone is pointed at them is insanity to me 🤣"

"Born in 84 and growing up in the late 80’s and 90’s, it’s hard to explain to younger people that video cameras weren’t everywhere and you didn’t count on seeing yourself in what was being filmed. You just smiled and went on with your life."

Which, of course, led to some inevitable "ah the good old days" laments:

"Life was better before the Internet. There, I said it."

"Not a single cell phone to be seen. Oh the freedom."

"It's so nice to be reminded what life was like before cell phones absorbed and isolated social gatherings."

But perhaps the most common response was how old those teens looked.

"Why do they all look like they're in their 30's?"

"Everyone in this video is simultaneously 17 and 49 years old."

"Now we know why they always use 30 y/o actors in high school movies."

As some people pointed out, there is an explanation for why they look old to us. It has more to do with how we interpret the fashion than how old they actually look.

Ah, what a fun little trip down memory lane for those of us who lived it. (Let's just all agree to never bring back those hairstyles, though, k?)