We’ve all experienced it. You pull up to the dreaded stop light and standing on the corner is the gruff, dirty, sad looking man holding the tattered cardboard sign. Your cheerful singing along to the radio stops and you plaster on a somber face, or you avert your eyes and occupy yourself with your cell phone, pretending you don’t even notice him. Some of us will search through our wallet and scrape together whatever meager amount of cash we deem appropriate to give to a homeless man. We hand over the dollar bills, all the while wondering what kind of drugs or booze our hard-earned money is going to buy that night. An awkward minute passes, then the light turns green, and you’re on your way, without even giving him a second thought. Shouldn’t there be an easier, less awkward, and more helpful way to handle those inevitable encounters?
Blessing Bags are gallon-sized Ziploc bags packed full of essential items that the average homeless person would appreciate.
Blessing Bags are customizable, based on items you may already have in your home, your budget, what season it currently is, and where you live. The dollar store is a great place to buy items for your bags. Buy travel-sized items, and make sure items can withstand temperature extremes since they will be stored in your car.
These are great to make together as a family. Get your kids involved by including them in making the shopping list, picking out the items at the store, and assembling the bags. This simple activity teaches kids the importance of compassion, empathy, selflessness, and show them how serving others, give back to their community, and accept those that are different.
Blessing Bags are also a great activity for large groups from Boy Scout meetings to community service projects to ladies nights. Assign each person an item and quantity to bring, group items in piles, then make an assembly line for each person to fill up their bag or bags. This cuts down on the overall cost, is a fun, bonding activity, and helps to reach a greater population of the homeless.
You can decide how many bags you want to make at one time. Always keep at least a couple in your car so you’re prepared every time you are on the road. Be sure the bags are within arm’s length of the driver’s seat.
We can easily take for granted a toothbrush or a granola bar, but to someone who has very little, everything is important. Instead of giving away your money and risk that they will use that money towards something negative, and instead of doing nothing and turning a blind eye, be prepared with a Blessing Bag. Next time you pull up to the stop light, confidently look that homeless man in the eye while you hand him a Blessing Bag and a word of encouragement!
Photo credits: Dani
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Tags: blessing bag, blessing bags, community project, community service, DIY, easy, giving back, helping homeless, homeless, how to, parenting, serving homeless
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Dani lives in North Carolina with her husband and two toddlers. She is a stay-at-home mom who loves to clean and organize anything and everything. Her happiness is found in Jesus, days at the spa, yoga, and dark chocolate peanut butter cups. She strives to live a simple life by remaining debt-free and limiting social-media.