Upper Left Givers

What is Upper Left Givers?

Upper Left Givers is a community of neighbors in PNW providing a warm, human connection to people experiencing homelessness. We use our essentials list sticker on our car windows as a signal for those in need to approach and receive useful supplies we have at hand, as well as to raise awareness on homelessness and promote giving.

How did we begin?

Travel back to the last time you've encountered a person experiencing homelessness on the street. Perhaps you were in your car, driving by them. Perhaps they were standing on the other side of the crosswalk, asking for help. It can be heartbreaking to witness others in our community suffering as such, but it can also be uncomfortable, terrifying, or even confusing what you should do. Should you avoid looking their way? Is that considered rude or are you giving them privacy? Should you try to give them something? Is that frowned upon? How do you help? What if it's received the wrong way?

A simple place to start is, just make an eye-contact, and send them a smile. If you have something you can provide to help them survive the harsh, cold winter weather and rain, do so.

After experiencing all of those emotions ourselves, we decided we'd always carry essential items we can give to those in need. But then we also realized how terrifying it must be for those experiencing homelessness to approach strangers for help, especially on the road. Then we had an idea: What if we could distribute a sticker to our community to signal anyone in need to approach and take essentials we have ready to giveaway?

StateTotal Homeless PopulationTotal Family Households Experiencing HomelessnessUnaccompanied Young Adults (Aged 18-24) Experiencing HomelessnessTotal Number of Unaccompanied Homeless Students

Data as of January 2019
Source: United States Interagency Council on Homelessness

"The 2020 Point-in-Time count showed 11,751 people experiencing homelessness in King County. That was before the pandemic hit."

— United Way

Who do we give to?

Anyone you encounter who is experiencing homeless and/or asking for help.

What are on the essentials list? (COVID-19 Ver.)


  • Band-aids, antiseptic wipes, gloves, emergency blanket, antibiotic cream and/or OTC medicine in individual packets (e.g. Tylenol, Allegra, Advil, Tums,), multi vitamins, etc.

  • If the person you're helping has a serious injury or needs medical attention, ______.


  • Fresh drinking water in sealed bottles.

  • Also needed are Gatorade, Powerade, and other electrolyte drinks.

  • Dehydration is a common problem among people who are unhoused.


  • Packaged, non-perishable foods or small snacks that are easy to carry (e.g. granola bars, juice box, fruit snacks, apple sauce, trail mix, bananas). Fresh fruits that are easy to peel. Small packages of carrots or grapes are also nice to have and hand out.

  • Consider giving nutritious food than junk foods, though some treats here and there could potentially bring them joy too!

  • Consider that many of them have significant dental problems and cannot bite hard foods.

  • Avoid products that could melt in the heat (e.g. chocolate)

  • Many of them have dogs for companionship and protection. In fact, many find a stray dog comes to them when they are on the streets. Pet food is always a great donation to those with animal companions.


  • Towels, tents, tarps, sleeping bags, flash lights, reusable water bottles or canteens, reusable grocery bags (preferably water-proof), battery-operated and hand-held fans or heaters, sewing kits


  • Hotel-size, single-use toiletries like soap, lotion, shampoo, toothbrush (with caps or in packaging), toothpaste, mouthwash. 16 oz. bottles of shampoo or lotion often end up in the garbage (they’re too heavy to carry.) You can buy single use items in bulk from hotel supply companies for a few pennies each.

  • Feminine hygiene products (tampons, sanitary pads, pantyliners, and even baby wipes for easier cleanup are all needed consistently year round. Small packages of baby wipes are easier for them to pass out and for those in need to store on their person.)

  • Razors (bag one or two disposable razors in Ziplock snack size bags)

  • Skin protection (sunblock, aloe vera gel, bug spray, moisturizers, lip balms, anti-itch creams or ointments like Calamine or Afterbite)


  • Paperback books in all genres, Bibles, and magazines are almost always welcomed.

  • Paper, notebooks, pencils, pens, envelopes, and stamps are also much needed. Stock up on extra during back to school time.


  • Bag them individually in Ziplock bags, marked with the size. The highest quality socks are usually not necessary. When socks and underwear get really dirty they may be thrown out by those who don’t have access to a laundromat.

Rain Gear

  • Umbrellas, lightweight rain coat, water-resistant jackets, ponchos, etc.


  • Clean clothes and underwear are always a need for men, women, and children. Traditional boxers are best for men. Traditional briefs for women. Also, inquire about bra needs. Sports bras in multiple sizes are often the best and most affordable choice to donate. In summer, ankle socks are more popular.

Seasonal Items

  • Winter: Hats, gloves, earmuffs, wind-blocker or water-proof jackets, hand warmers, etc.

  • Summer: Hats with a bill to block the sun, bandanas, sunglasses, sunblock, aloe vera, etc.