“Curb” Kits

The idea behind curb kits is to create a win-win situation by “humanizing the drive-by.” They give drivers, in particular, a chance to talk with and hopefully help people they might otherwise ignore, disdain or dismiss. People “flying signs” get a few items they might need and get treated with kindness. The more localized and customized the kit, the better!


The average cost is about $5 per kit. Teaming up with friends, family or coworkers to buy the main items of the kit in bulk can make the per-kit cost cheaper. If you’re doing this individually, the cost will be greater up-front, but if you buy in bulk you can make a bunch of kits at once and store them in your vehicle.

Main items

  • Large Ziploc bag — Holds the items listed below and doubles as a reusable waterproof storage container.
  • Bottle of water — Plastic ones are cheap and reusable, but consider donating a clean, unused water bottle of your own.
  • Rain jacket — Emergency pullovers are very cheap.
  • First aid kit — A small one could come in handy.
  • Toothbrush — A travel one or an unused, still packaged spare from your closet.
  • Toothpaste — Small tubes work, and are very cheap.
  • Non-perishable snack/meal — Granola bars and trail mix work here. MREs (Meals, Ready-to-Eat) or similar prepackaged meals are available at Army surplus or camping stores. The more portable, the better. Stay away from chocolate or other ingredients that can melt and make a mess inside a pocket or a pack.
  • Emergency drink mix — AKA “Vitamin Enhanced Drink Mix” or electrolyte packets help prevent dehydration.
  • Hand sanitizer — Hygiene is key!
  • Lip balm — To soothe and protect cracked lips.
  • Socks — Good, clean socks are vital. Cotton for summer, wool or synthetic mixes for winter.
  • Mask — The COVID pandemic might make this a permanent, necessary safety item.
  • Journal and pencil — Something to write on and with, like a small pocket spiral and a mechanical pencil.
  • Local “Help” card — Your local health and human services department might have already printed something like this, so call first before you create your own. The key is accurate, up-to-date information about relevant services.

Optional items

  • Bus tokens or tickets — Available at local grocery stories to help get to job interviews, doctor’s appointments, etc.
  • Tarp — Keeps “rough campers” dry in summer and winter, and can be used for shelter in a pinch.
  • Backpack — Hip and chest straps make a pack more comfortable to carry for long distances.
  • Cell phone — A cheap, buy-minutes-as-you-go phone could come in handy for someone.
  • Sandals — Crocs are big here in Colorado, but any kind of sandal will do. Good for communal showers at shelters and for wearing after a long day on foot.
  • Human connection — A smile, greeting or brief conversation can make a big difference. Say “Hi” and wave, even if you don’t have a kit or cash to give. Introduce yourself and ask, “What’s your name?”, “Where are you staying?” or “Where are you heading?” If you have an extra “help” card on hand, ask if they need to connect with local services.
  • TBD — That stands for “To Be Determined.” Use your best judgment, but also be creative! Ask yourself what you would need or want if you were the one with a sign at an intersection or off ramp. Or call a local social service agency (day shelter, family resource center, etc.) for their suggestions.

Seasonal items

  • Sunscreen or a hat — It’s easy to get sunburned standing outside for a long time.
  • Blankets & Gloves — Thick, water-resistant ones for the winter. Light, thin ones for the summer.
  • Sleeping bag — People on the street usually have one, but they get lots of use and wear out quickly.
  • Stocking cap — Helps maintain body heat in the winter.