Tahira Clayton

Vocalist. Song-Writer. Activist. Educator

Brown Bag Initiative 2.0

The mission is simple: bring humanity back to our communities while helping those in need. After a few years of living in New York City, I found myself becoming closed off to the homeless people on the subways or on the streets. Because of my OWN discomfort with their situations, I found myself ignoring those who asked for help. How could my heart have become so hardened that I could willfully ignore a human being in need? Enter the Brown Bag Initiative. After doing some deep soul searching on my own, I realized that I had the ability to help NOT ignore this huge issue. I can’t combat all of homelessness, but I can try to tackle my corner of the world while hopefully encouraging others to do the same.

Homelessness statistics are alarming. And while there is microscopic and agonizingly slow progress being made to help combat this issue, not enough is being done. Further, not a lot is being done to help those who are NOT homeless who have been socialized to turn their backs on other people in need. We as a people have to learn to get back to the beauty and wonder of human interaction, regardless of how big or small. Join me on this mission.


  1. Packaging for these bags has changed. All gift bags will be packaged using gallon sized Ziplock bags. These bags are more durable, waterproof, and (most importantly) are reusable.

  2. Our supply list has expanded! Please see supply list here.


  1. Start building and handing out your own bags!

  2. Encourage others to build and hand out their bags

  3. Donate supplies or $$ to me. $$ accepted via venmo @Tahira-clayton or paypal: tahiraclaytonmusic@gmail.com. To send supplies to me, please reach out to me via my contact page.

  4. Collect your hotel toiletries and send them to your local homeless shelter or send my way!

  5. Buy Bombas Socks!!!! For every pair purchased, they donate a pair to the homeless through community partners. These are special socks, too! Check out Bomba socks here.

  6. Be prepared and know your resources about homeless shelters in your areas.

  7. Talk to the homeless. Ask what they need, about their day, anything. These people are humans too and deserve love, empathy, and understanding. Simple acknowledgement of their existence is a great start.

Current Projects: The Brown Bag Initiative

Hi fiends! For those of you who don’t know, I started the “Brown Bag Initiative” (BB Init.) in November 2018 as a way to help the homeless in NYC and to rebuild the humanity within those of us who are not homeless.

After MANY instances of seeing people pull away, avoid, ignore, or even berate the homeless, I wanted to to create something that would give people a reason to look up from their phones, take a moment to see that person as a person, and then actually help their fellow human.

I soon realized that most people have been taught that giving money to the homeless is a bad idea, so to combat that, I started the BB Init.

What is the Brown Bag Initiative? It’s simple actually and not very profound or original at all. I load up brown paper bags with a snack, a small water bottle, hand sanitizer, pack of kleenex, a hand-warmer, a pad and/or tampon, and a nice (non-religious) note of encouragement. I carry bags with me around the city and I simply set them down or hand them to anyone who is asking for help. On the street, on the subway, outside of a McDonalds, wherever. I have met some seriously incredible humans doing this.

Not surprisingly, folks have started to craft their own bags and hand them out as well! And others have donated directly to me so that I can buy more supplies. This is EXACTLY what I’d hoped for! Human helping human helping human helping human.


Now that the warmer months are approaching, I want to get a plan in place for what supplies might be best when it is hot. Suggestions? Want to donate? Need more info? Please leave me a message here.

By the end of this year, i am hoping to be partnered with a homeless shelter so that I am able to bring a music program to the homeless community. Music has such a healing quality and we all deserve to have access to that sort of communal healing. Who knows what type of movement that may be in someone’s life? If you have any leads or wish to be kept up to date on the progress of this please contact me here.

All my love,