Giving to the Homeless ~ Homeless Blessing Bags

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In my opinion, we are born selfish. Babies, as cute as they are, are very ego-centric. The world revolves around them. While that is a necessary part of growing, if we are not careful, our children can get stuck with this mindset.

Children with special needs can struggle with it even more. For instance, Lira is emotionally immature because of Autism. She has to be taught basic social skills, like how to make friends and learning to care for their needs.

A great lesson for children about giving! Make homeless blessing bags with toiletries and treats. Keep them in the car to give to those on the corners asking for help. Includes ideas for what to give and how to approach a homeless person without being offensive.

About a month ago, we made Homeless Blessing Bags. This is a fabulous project that the entire family can enjoy and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. You can use items right out of you stockpile if you wish.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept, a gallon-sized, zip top bag is filled with personal toiletries and snacks. The bags can be distributed to a homeless community, donated to a local food bank or homeless shelter, or given to the homeless people you pass on the street.

Here are some of the items that work well in a blessing bag:

  • granola bars
  • cereal bars
  • snack crackers/cheese
  • peanut butter
  • beef jerky
  • raisins
  • peanuts
  • applesauce cup
  • fruit cups
  • Capri suns/juice boxes
  • trail mix
  • gum
  • hard candy
  • mints
  • bottled water
  • hot cocoa mix
  • pop-top meat or sausages
  • hand sanitizer
  • baby wipes
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • wash cloth
  • hand towel
  • soap
  • comb
  • nail clippers
  • deodorant
  • socks
  • sun screen
  • foot powder
  • flip flops (depending on the region)
  • gloves (depending on the region)
  • chapstick
  • lotion
  • travel-sized tissues

Our children had a great time packing the bags and it opened the door for lots of conversation about homeless people, how we need to appreciate what we have, and how we need to show God’s love by giving to others.

We placed the bags in a box and it is stored in our van between the two front seats. When we spot someone who might be homeless, I hold out the bag and ask, “Excuse me, but do you know someone who might be able to use this?” It gives them the opportunity to decline or accept while giving me an escape hatch if I have made a mistake and the person is not homeless.

A great lesson for children about giving! Make homeless blessing bags with toiletries and treats. Keep them in the car to give to those on the corners asking for help. Includes ideas for what to give and how to approach a homeless person without being offensive.

We were able to give out our first bag this week and the recipient was extremely grateful. The children were with me and were amazed, full of questions. They wanted to know why the gentleman did not have a home. Where did he sleep? How did he get food to eat? Would we ever be homeless? What would happen to us if we lost our home? I answered all of their questions as honestly as I could without making them fearful.

As I looked in the rear view mirror, I could see the wheels turning in Lira’s mind. The car was quiet when she suddenly announced, “Mommy, I want to be the homeless spotter so we can give away more bags.”

My precious daughter is learning to care.

You might want to see where this idea started, Serve One Another in Love.

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Comments

  1. says

    Wonderful. We have to plan ahead. I have some beef jerky under my car seat for these kinds of situations, but your goodie bags are so well thought out. I’m impressed. I know many people will be blessed by your generosity and planning.

  2. Colleen P says

    Very thoughtful! I think we’ll make some this coming week as the weather is getting worse around here and many people are forgotten after the holidays. (Found your post through pinterest)

    • Penny says

      Thank you for stopping by, Colleen. These blessing bags are so easy to put together. I hope you are able to share them with many who need them and in turn that you will be blessed beyond measure.

  3. says

    Oh how I ADORE practical ministries! This is soo wonderful and blesses my socks off to know of how God used your ‘bread and fishes’ to multiply gifts for many. We just need to be available…God will do the rest. VERY exciting! I LOVE this – so glad you shared!

    • Penny says

      Thank you, Marsha. I really feel so unworthy of this tremendous blessing but I am so happy to be able to contribute to sharing God’s love with people.

  4. Leslie Christiansen says

    Thank you so much for this idea! I often think of the homeless when the weather turns chilly and winter brings the coldest of days. I think I will have my Kindergartners do this project a couple times this year! Thanks again!

  5. says

    Hi Penny,
    This was a beautiful post. You’ve inspired me to renew My Mission Monday topic on my blog. Would you mind if I include part of this post. I would also love to interview you briefly if your interested.
    Please email me and we will chat about it.
    Thanks for sharing this.
    Have a Wonderfully Blessed Week,
    Sherry

  6. says

    I found your post via Pinterest while I was looking up blessing bag ideas. That quote by your daughter at the end totally made me tear up. I love seeing people set such good examples for their children. This is definitely something I want to start doing.

  7. says

    So glad you shared this again. What a sweet story of Lira learning about compassion. We did this growing up but I haven’t done it with my kids yet. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. Sara P says

    These are great ideas, thanks for sharing! This year we are wrapping ours like a Christmas gift and passing them along with a Christmas card to the less fortunate we run into during the day. So many never receive a single thing, when we are receive so much. My 9 year old is over the moon excited and is planning how to make them extra special.

  9. Kim Marchese says

    Thanks for this post! I also found you on Pinterest looking for ideas to make Blessing Bags this year. I absolutely love the way you approach someone without making assumptions or making them feel uncomfortable! That is a great approach, and I am going to use it! Blessings to you and your family.

  10. Elizabeth B says

    This is a great idea! We sometimes hand out a granola bar or whatever I have, to people we see asking for help, but to plan for it is a great idea!

  11. Lovely says

    I’m becoming more passionate about homelessness and your idea is amazing and inspirational. I was wondering if you coupon?

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