Good Samaritan Creates Winter Care Packages for the Homeless
She's been raising money for less fortunate people since 2016. Here's how she raised the bar this year.
This story is part of a bi-weekly series that celebrates people who are reaching across a divide to "build bridges" with others. The Sparkt Bridges series is made possible with the support of UPMC.
"When you stand outside for 5 minutes during a windy, cold winter... you can grasp the disheartening reality of some."
Those words provide a powerful call to action at the end of a GoFundMe campaign organized by Nikki Kubit of Pittsburgh, PA. Nikki's mission was to raise money to create care packages for the city's homeless. These packages included thermal socks, Vitamin C, emergency blankets, feminine products, and most importantly, "mummy" sleeping bags (rated for temperatures as low as 0 degrees Fahrenheit). These are items which can mean the difference between life and death for someone who has to face the winter without a shelter.
As if to emphasize this point, it started snowing when I met with Nikki and her fiancée, Chris Homa, as they distributed the care packages to folks on the street:
Nikki has been putting together these care packages since 2016. With the success of her previous campaigns, she set her sights a bit higher this year -- attempting to raise $500. Not only did she clear that hurdle, she more than doubled it, raising $1,080! Those funds allowed for the creation of about 17 winter weather care packages.
The contents of the care packages.
Since this project isn't connected to a specific charity, Nikki and Chris simply take the packages around with them until they find someone in need. "Usually I see a person on my way into work or I'll have them in my cube and then I'll go out during my lunch and drop them off," says Nikki. Sometimes she gives them directly to a person in need; other times, she leaves them in areas where homeless people tend to seek shelter. It's not lost on Nikki and Chris that they're building bridges with people, some of whom might actually live under bridges.
Nikki prepares to leave a care package outside a shelter.
All of the care packages include a list of resources that may be helpful to someone who is homeless, like phone numbers for shelters and other charities. At the bottom reads a simple, humble message that gets to the very heart of this mission:
"Hope this helps! From: Nikki & Chris"
We hope it helps too, thanks to a couple who wasn't willing to sit by, and decided to take action to make a difference in their community.
The Sparkt Bridges Project is produced with the generous support of UPMC. Life Changing Medicine.