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.
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
- applesauce cup
- fruit cups
- Capri suns/juice boxes
- trail mix
- hard candy
- bottled water
- hot cocoa mix
- pop-top meat or sausages
- hand sanitizer
- baby wipes
- wash cloth
- hand towel
- nail clippers
- sun screen
- foot powder
- flip flops (depending on the region)
- gloves (depending on the region)
- 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.
We were able to give out our first bag this week and the recipent was extremely grateful. The children were with me and were amazed, full of questions. They wanted to know why the gentleman didn’t 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 rearview 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.