"Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these brothers and
sisters of mine, you did for me."
My heart always sinks when I see the needy. Most often, our family really tries to go out of our way to meet those people, to ask them if we can buy them a meal or anything else they may be in need of. But, when we are running late to our destination, I can't help but think to myself, I wish I had something (other than money) to give them as we're passing by.
This past fall as I was running out of Wal-Mart, late getting home to relieve the babysitter, I spotted a homeless woman wondering through the parking lot. I had no cash, and no time to run and get her a hot meal. As I dug through my bag of groceries trying to collect as few things to offer her, I wished I could just put my life on pause and take her across the street for a hot meal.
While Steve and I are thankful that Benedict and Andrew are old enough to volunteer at a local soup kitchen, it's more of a challenge to find ways that our younger children can serve the needy, too. This was an answer to that challenge!
George and Henry hard at work. I love it when they don't know they're learning!We decided to pitch the idea of creating the "Blessing Bags" to our CC community, and they graciously agreed to help out. George, Henry and I spent just a few hours over a week's time gathering supplies, collecting donations, and boxing up all of the goods for our assembly line.
These are the items we included in the bags:
- one pair of black socks
- hand warmers
- small package of Kleenex
- toothbrush and small toothpaste
- sugar-free gum
- trail mix
- chap stick
- hot chocolate packets
- $10 Wal-Mart gift card
The bags themselves were purchased from Oriental Trading, and most other items were either donated or purchased at Sam's Club. I also purchased some inexpensive tags at a craft store and stamped on each side of them the saying: May the comfort of God's love fill you with hope and peace.
Thinking about making the bags with your own family, church, or school community?
Many businesses, especially big-box stores, will be happy to donate items if you request them far enough in advance. Share your story with friends and family, and more than likely someone will want to pitch in! One request that is pretty simple is for the toothbrushes and toothpaste. Don't be afraid to ask your dentist for these items.
Just a few days after assembling the bags, I came across a very helpful article which included details on how to make care packages for the homeless. After reading it which items are appreciated, and which ones are best left out, I felt like we did a pretty good job choosing the items for our bags, but maybe we'll consider including a few different items next year.
I hope the blessing bags can become an annual tradition for our community. Perhaps you, too, can initiate the project in your own family, homeschool community, church, or neighborhood!