Helping the Homeless: Blessing Bags
Many people probably wonder–what is the best way to help a person who is homeless? For most of us, day-to-day interactions with the homeless are brief. You might see someone soliciting while pulled up to a stoplight, while walking to work, or out shopping. Probably everyone is guilty at some point of just averting their eyes, pretending not to see, or just straight up ignoring the person soliciting, but deep down you think, there has to be a better way. While some of you might gladly pull out a few meager bills or a handful of change, there are probably others of you wishing you had a second option prepared. If this is you–looking for something helpful to provide the homeless and is even (bonus!) a family friendly community service activity, then blessings bags are your answer! Read on for instuctions on how to put together a kit with useful materials–those often recommended by food pantries and donation centers as much needed items.
Make some Blessing Bags!
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.
Here is a general list of items that are good to choose from:
- Bottled Water
- Granola/Protein Bar
- Snack Nuts
- Peanut Butter Crackers
- Breath Mints
- Floss Picks
- Pain Reliever
- Band Aids
- Mini First Aid Kit
- Hand Sanitizer
- Wet Wipes
- Cough Drops: Especially in the winter months
- Pair of Socks: Especially in the winter months
- Bus Passes: Based on your city’s transportation system
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!
How to Encourage an Attitude of Gratitude!
Photo credits: Dani
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