The “Stuffed Shirt” Project


Many homeless people find themselves moving from one shelter to another, carrying their clothes and other possessions the only way they can — in trash bags.  They also have limited and inconsistent access to personal care items, like soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and toothbrushes, etc.

You can help!  Either create an “event” and work as a group or do the project on your own.

Gather your friends, family, co-workers, etc. and ask them to each bring either:

  • a new or gently used soft suitcase
  • a duffel bag or backpack
  • a large sized toiletries or cosmetics bag
  • OR a clean, new XL t-shirt

Also, ask your participants to bring small bottles of shampoo, conditioner, soaps, wash cloths, deodorant, toothbrushes and toothpaste, body lotions, shaving cream and any other personal care items you might think of to your event.  You’ll need extra large sized zip lock type plastic bags too.

(For corporate Stuffed Shirt events, email us about different ways to set up your event. Your company can purchase the items and employees can do the “stuffing,” or Family-to-Family can set the event up for you with a donation from your company.)

  1. Place a sampling of personal care products for one person in one (or two) zip lock bags.
  2. Have each participant pack the soft suitcases, bags etc. with the personal care items, OR
  3. Lay the t-shirts out flat, and put the zip lock filled with personal care items in the center of the t-shirts. Wrap the shirt up around the items like a sack/bag, and tie it with a ribbon or string.

For printable directions, click here.

Making a Kids Bag or a Baby Bag is another option…

For a Baby Bag, participants can fill a clean, gently used diaper bag with any or all of the following:

  • clean baby clothes
  • wipes
  • diaper cream
  • a changing pad
  • a cuddly small blanket
  • a new pacifier and/or bottle
  • small baby toy

For a Kids Bag, fill a new, kids size medium t-shirt with any or all of these:

  • kids shampoo & conditioner
  • soap & plastic soap case
  • kids toothbrush
  • kids toothpaste
  • small hairbrush
  • lip balm
  • kids decorated band-aids
  • small towel or washcloth

You might find that swapping and sharing the personal care items will ensure that each t-shirt “bag” or suitcase has variety. For a nice personal touch, you can make a label with a good will wish and attach it to the ribbon or string, or the handle of the suitcase, etc.  If you made a baby bag, please attach a label to the handle of the bag indicating what age baby the clothes inside are for (e.g. 6-9 months).

Please contact us at before your event so that we can link you and your group to a local shelter where you can bring your donations.

“We can only do laundry once a month.”

“If you don’t have deodorant you can put baking soda up under your arms.”

“You can just brush your teeth with water if it comes down to it.”

“I had to use products in public bathrooms to freshen up and not make us look homeless.” *

*Quotes from Feeding America study, "In Short Supply," 2013.