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We have an intersection in town by a shopping center where there are frequently people holding signs and asking for food or money. One afternoon I was driving with the kids when we saw a family there together. I got on the highway to head home and just could not stop thinking about that family. I left the kids in the car, ran inside, and quickly threw together a bag of miscellaneous objects that they might need. We made another lap around and dropped it off.
I wished I had been more thoughtful in what I gave them, instead of throwing together the “leftovers” I had laying around. So we resolved to put together some bags to pass out when we saw someone who might need it.
It has been a SLOW process … we went shopping for the contents in November, and finally put the bags together six months later!
Years ago I ran across a blog post on blessing bags for the homeless, and tweaked her idea a little.
We went to our local dollar store first, and really were amazed at all we were able to get there without it being crazy expensive. From the dollar store we bought:
- trail mix
- bottled water
- hand wipes
- chap stick
- note: we intended to give these out during cold weather, but if you were doing summer bags, you could omit the warm stuff and instead add sunscreen, more water, a hat, sunglasses…
I really wanted to put the stuff in a nice bag that they could reuse. I found this set on Amazon for about $2 a bag. They are sturdy and the perfect size for all our stuff.
Another thing I wanted to include was a Bible. I got a dozen for a discount price at Christian Book Distributors, but I don’t love what we got! The writing is too too small! The next time we do this, I’d order a smaller book or tract (suggestions, anyone?) instead of the whole Bible. Something more readable.
Another thing we are including is a laminated card with the phone number and address of our local Christian halfway house or homeless shelter. I have always felt like I wanted to point someone in the right direction in addition to giving them some temporary help. I make these cards myself, just type up the phone numbers!
And the final item was a fleece blanket. We felt like that would be so useful. It took forever to find good ones that weren’t $10 each…I finally found a ton on clearance at Walgreen’s for less than $2.
When we finally had all the items together, we had a packing party! The kids LOVED it! We will definitely do this one again.
We were able to give one away
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