This post is very close to my heart…  It pains me to write it, as it affects a friend of mine direct­ly, that refus­es help, as I will illus­trate.

I have a friend I got a call from this week.  He has lost his job, his apart­ment, much of his cloth­ing,  his par­ents (fam­i­ly) lives in anoth­er state are elder­ly, with very lit­tle of their own mon­ey, and can­not help.  My friend insists on check­ing into one of the Men’s shel­ter in NYC and rebuild­ing his life on his own and deal­ing with the incon­ve­niences.  I respect that.  He is right in stay­ing in the city in this sit­u­a­tion, as he has a bet­ter chance of land­ing a job in the city, not need­ing trans­porta­tion.  He is ridicu­lous­ly smart, has a degree in music from Boston Uni­ver­si­ty, has held good sales posi­tions, and finds him­self need­ing to start over from scratch. I, of course, offered to allow him to stay at my place, and take advan­tage of my hos­pi­tal­i­ty, but he insists on doing this him­self.  He has been going to the NYC Pub­lic Library to use their com­put­ers for Inter­net Access, applied for food stamps, etc., and is active­ly look­ing for a job.

It is tough out there, and the new sta­tis­tics say that for every job open­ing there are a min­i­mum of five appli­cants you have to com­pete with.  I say there are more than that.  He will not let me help him finan­cial­ly, although I am sure if I forced it on him he would.  How­ev­er, we had a con­ver­sa­tion this morn­ing.  We are about the same size, and wear the same size cloth­ing for the most part.  So, I offered to give him some of the work clothes and casu­al clothes I do not wear any­more, because I work from home and not in NYC.  He accept­ed!  Great news, because maybe with some fresh clothes, he can look for a job.  In the process of putting six or sev­en  pair of khakis and dress pants togeth­er, I also added six or sev­en work casu­al and dress shirts I no longer wear, found three sweaters I no longer wear that are like brand new, and an Under The Gun (UTG) Ranger duf­fel bag with back­pack straps I have been look­ing to get rid of, as well as a Swiss Gear com­muter back­pack, I hap­pen to have two of that is like new that I no longer use.  My friend Jim­my, was ecsta­t­ic about this as it will make get­ting around the city eas­i­er, as well as get him in some fresh clothes more often.

In the assem­bling of this gear for him, it hit me that I should throw togeth­er a quick kit for him in the event some­thing worse hap­pens and he finds him­self out on the street.  I hope this does not hap­pen, but I have the means to put a small urban sur­vival kit togeth­er for him, so I am doing so.  I have some extra gear lay­ing around, I might as well put it to good use… So here is what I am assem­bling for him that might help to make his life eas­i­er if he finds him­self on the street for any rea­son and I may be trav­el­ing on busi­ness and he can­not reach me for help:

  • One (1) 27 oz. stain­less steel water bot­tle.  If he finds him­self on the street, he can go to any pub­lic foun­tain (there are not many left) and fill it up.  But more impor­tant­ly, he can use it to boil and make drink­able water if he needs to.
  • One (1) 24 oz. Eddie Bauer plas­tic water bot­tle.
  • Very small bot­tle of 16 iodine tablets to turn NYC mys­tery water into potable drink­able water if nec­es­sary.
  • One bic lighter.
  • One (1) inex­pen­sive mul­ti tool
  • One (1) fire steel.
  • Small sewing kit.
  • 15 zip ties.
  • 25′ of para cord.
  • 10 — 15 cot­ton balls.
  • One (1) emer­gency light stick.
  • One (1) 9 bulb LED flash­light.
  • Mini first aid kit with a few cus­tom addi­tions.
  • Kleenex
  • Half a dozen Emer­gency Fire Starters
  • Pen and mini com­po­si­tion note­book.
  • One (1) Emer­gency Pon­cho
  • One (1) Emer­gency Blan­ket
  • One (1) Three Day Emer­gency Ration Bar
  • A cou­ple of soap bars and sham­poos that I rou­tine­ly snag on busi­ness trips at the hotels for camp­ing or a sur­vival sit­u­a­tion.  I hope every­one here knows my the­o­ry on hygiene in the field…
  • Medi­um sized bot­tle of Purell, which also flam­ma­ble because it is 60% iso­propyl alco­hol.
  • Tea, cof­fee, cream­er pack­ets, sweet­en­er pack­ets, etc. that also get snagged from the hotels on busi­ness trips for the same sit­u­a­tion described in the line above.  Noth­ing bet­ter than a hot drink to keep your psy­cho­log­i­cal edge.

Have I done the right thing?  I think so.  I just want him to be pre­pared if it gets any worse.  I hope he under­stands I do not think he is going to end up on the street.  But being of the pre­pared­ness mind­set, I think of the worst, pre­pare and hope it nev­er hap­pens.  He can car­ry this kit all day in the pack I am going to give him and no one would be the wis­er, and he would look like he fits right in on the street.

What else would you add to the kit?  I see him on Sat­ur­day and promised to take him for lunch.

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