Homeless Friend with 3 Kids Living in Hotel

Updated on December 17, 2011
J.F. asks from Atkinson, NH
15 answers

So I just found out today that one of my friends and her 3 kids became homeless about 2 weeks ago. The state has put her up in a nearby hotel until she gets on her feet...she has been unemployed for almost 3 years and has very little support. I'm looking to put together a big bag of stuff for her and kids this weekend....she asked for a hotpot, to make coffee or hot chocolate...I'm going to lend her my George Foreman grill so she can make grilled cheese, whatever.....a few bags of groceries and a bag of toiletries. Any other ideas of things that would be helpful or appreciated? I feel so bad, the circumstances just SUCK!

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answers from San Francisco on

This happened to my daughter once so I'm just trying to think of the various things I got for her.

They will probably need some cheap dishes/silverware/cups, etc. to eat off of. I would just get very inexpensive stuff from the dollar store. Also, things like can openers, a couple of inexpensive dish towles/wash cloths, a couple of storage bowls with lids.

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answers from Albany on

Oh dear, that sucks. How 'bout free childcare while she finds a new job?


10 moms found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

I would want an electric burner - a single one is less than $15. Does she have a fridge or microwave in her room? A coffee pot? If no fridge, she will need a cooler to keep foods and milk cold.
a small Christmas tree?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Joseph on

bedding....I hate hotel bedding especially knowing it is used by hundreds/thousands of other people and not always properly washed. (I read an article that said the comforters are only washed once monthly unless there are visible stains on them). an electric skillet would be awesome as well, you can cook a lot of different things in there. maybe coloring books and crayons for the kids, if they are of an age to color. a nice supply of paper plates, plastic silverware etc if they dont have their own with them. maybe a gift card for gas or groceries etc. you are such a good friend to help. maybe also a "gift certicate" or two for watching her kids overnight to give her a break, or for them all to stay for a weekend. God Bless You!!

ETA: maybe a nice supply of kool-aid for the kids, or a case of bottled water. some rolls of quarters to do laundry at the laundry mat. mayabe even a laundry basket or two. sorry if my ideas are weird, not knowing what she was able to take with her makes me want to list everything...lol. maybe an ironing board, and iron.

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answers from Rockford on

How sad for your friend...hearing things like this make me so very grateful for the wonderful life I have that I often take for granted. What you are doing is so nice and very generous...another thing you can give her that is FREE is your time...watch the kids while she looks for a job, or ask her and her kids over for dinner once a week, or to come over and watch a movie and just hang out.

Sometimes, our time is all we have to give, but it sure means a lot! Prayers that things improve for your friend soon!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Providence on

Are you affiliated with a church or other agency where they could donate or assist her during this time? How terrible, especially around the holidays.

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answers from Indianapolis on

I would get something to keep the kids occupied like board games. I would get laundry detergent, soap, shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste and whatever other toiletrees you can think of.

Maybe one weekend you can take her kids to give them something to do and give her some rest. I wish your friend good luck.

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answers from Washington DC on

A gift card to Pizza Hut
A gift card to a grocery store
A gift card to 7-11 (quick store)

Maybe invite them to dinner?
Invite them to stay over Christmas Eve?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Go to a thrift store and get her a little Christmas tree, ornaments, stockings, a wreath. You can get that stuff dirt cheap at thrift stores. For $20 You can let her kids know Santa didn't forget them and the Christmas

She can call the front desk of the hotel and request a microwave and fridge. You can do a lot with a microwave.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

toaster oven when we moved to texas we stayed in a motel for a while. toaster oven you can bake cakes and pizzas in. if she doesn't have a stove in there a propane grill she can cook anything on. a crock pot. big sized one. skip the goerge forman she is going to be to cramped for room a propane grill a skillet a spoon and a sauce pan should do her.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Don't load her down with a ton of stuff. And do not *lend* anything. Give her things she can keep without the obligation of having to return it. Having to worry about whether something gets broke or goes missing because she's on the move is too much of a headache.

Staples like baking mixes, cereal, canned goods, etc. and toiletries, clothes and toys are nice, but she'd probably benefit better from something more flexible like a Visa gift card, Target Card, BP gas card, cell phone minutes, or a card to a local grocery store so she can buy what she needs, when she needs it.

Besides a hot pot or coffee maker, a portable burner is nice if her room doesn't have a kitchen. Or dorm sized microwave or fridge would be handy if she's going to be there long term and the hotel won't frown on these sorts of things. Does she have dishes? A travel iron for clothes? If she's going on job interviews, she's going to need a way to keep her clothes looking good and presentable.

Sleeping bags for each family member would be invaluable as they can use them anywhere they may wind up. Heaven forbid, she wind up having to go to a shelter, they'll be glad they have these. Make sure they keep you warm up to 30 degrees or lower. Keep toys or gifts at a minimum for convenience sake. Perhaps a Rubber maid tub should be included if you give the kids Christmas presents and they don't have a way or place to store their personal toys and belongings.

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answers from Washington DC on

A gas card so she can fill her tank while looking for work?

A game they can play as a family?

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I would wonder if the hotel has rules about cooking in the room...it may be a better idea to give her gift cards to local places to eat. They may have rules that nothing is allowed that can not be microwaved.

Some other ideas are to take her laundry to wash and dry, to give her a break from the small space by inviting them over to hang out, maybe a movie night with all the trimmings, or by borrowing the kids for a couple of hours for some reason or another. Having alone time is something we all take for granted in our own homes.

I have a friend who is a single adult, she is in her 40's and handicapped. She had a family but they were killed by a drunk driver. She hardly ever gets invited to any activities by our "friends". I feel very guilty over Thanksgiving. My family was invited to a friends home for the day but this other single friend was not. Even the missionaries were invited to the other friends place for the day. I didn't tell her we were invited, I did not tell her we had plans, nothing. I let her think we didn't really do anything.

She sat all day with no one even calling, no one even bringing her a plate of food. No one cared enough about her to give a D*^%$#m if she felt left out or unloved. I have this guilt about how I treated her but I honestly did not want to hurt her feelings by telling her we had plans or what we did. I may have hurt her even more by not saying anything.

The reason I told this on myself is to show why I would do different things for this family than the "regular" ideas. They need to know they are cared about, more than "Ohh, you poor thing" that some people might do. Not you of course, you are trying to come up with things to do that will help.

So, do things that will show her she still has worth even though she isn't working and supporting her children, that the state is making it possible for her to not live in her car with her kids, etc....these are the things she is thinking and she will most likely hear from people. Her self esteem is suffering right now, her self worth, etc...she needs to remember she is worth something.

I would also find out if she is willing to take on odd jobs, like helping someone clean their house or decorate for Christmas, maybe even clean the house after the holidays. If she is willing to do these things and it won't mess her up with the state by showing she has an income then I would be calling everyone I know or finding things around the house she can do for me.

One thing that could be done is to give her a gift card instead of cash for work done. I clean my FIL's house once a week and he gives me an allowance on the gas card. I can use however much I need but if I go on vacation or out of town we try to plan it on months he is not traveling too. I talked to the guy doing our taxes and he said it wasn't really income and he was not going to add it on. Giving her a gift card to Walmart or some other place might be a way to get around paying in cash may be a way to go.

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answers from Boston on

What a great friend! Small general gift cards for those things that come up unexpectedly. Or some help with her cell phone payments so she has a consistent contact for jobs.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Burlington on

Microwave, gift cards, see if the food banks, homeless shelters in your area have a "survival guide" to the area, local resources for clothing, food, shelter, other assistance, especially with kids.

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