Saturday, August 31, 2013

Helping the Homeless - How To Make Blessings Bags

One day while driving the A train from Manhattan I witnessed a man begging for money. If you've ever used the NY subway system often then you'd know that this is a very common thing to experience. I admit that I was a bit jaded and judgmental, in that, I assumed that this able bodied looking man was simply asking for money to buy drugs or alcohol. I thought to myself, " Why doesn't he quit begging and go get a job like the rest of us." So after his initial plea for money I ducked my head down and proceeded to read my book and didn't give any thought to giving this man any of my money. As I got off the train at my stop I noticed that the beggar had gotten off as well. He walked straight ahead to a woman and child who were both sitting on the subway benches. While adding money to my metro card, I overheard the little girl asking her father if she could have breakfast and witnessed the look of sorrow and dismay while he shook his head and muttered the word no.

There are few things in life that could quickly bring a tear to my eye and that's seeing a hungry child. As someone who goes to church week.y and has had a history of volunteering I always thought of myself as a pretty giving person. This experience showed me that maybe I'm not as giving and compassionate as I thought I was. Yikes. Like I said I was being jaded and judgmental. Anyway, after witnessing this exchange my brother and I gave the family some money, bought them breakfast at McDonald's, and gave them directions to a nearby shelter and the food bank at our church.    
 

If you've come across a homeless individual and felt the need to help but you're not sure exactly what to do then I'm going to show you a simple, quick, and inexpensive way to help. While browsing Tumblr I stumbled across a post which highlighted an easy project. The project shares how to create bags which are called “Blessing Bags” filled which little toiletries and snacks which are then stocked  in our car so that when we do happen to see someone on the streets who is homeless, you can hand them a Blessing Bag. If you’d like to make your own Blessing Bags the first thing you'll need are gallon size Ziplock bags.

Examples of items to go in the bags:
  • Chap stick
  • Packages of tissues or Wet Wipes
  •  Lotion
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste
  • Comb and Brush
  • Soaps
  •  Deodorant
  • Bottle of water or juice
  • Trail mix
  • Granola bars
  • Crackers
  • Pack of gum
  • Band aids
  • Mouthwash
  • Coins (could be used to make a phone call, or purchase a food item)
  • A warm pair of socks/ gloves
  • Gift cards
Assemble all the items in the bags, and maybe throw in a note of encouragement or scripture. Along with your note of encouragement or scripture you could add a list of your local resources (like homeless shelters, soup kitchens, etc) Seal the bags and stow in your car or your work bag to hand to a person of need. 

This is a great activity to do with some other family members and even you're church family. These items can all be found at your local dollar stores or Walmart so it doesn't cost much or take much time to make but I can guarantee you that it could make a world of difference for someone in need.

Live long and prosper...




Source:
http://kwavs.blogspot.com/2011/05/blessing-bags-how-to.html

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