Driving in our air-conditioned cars, coming from or going to our air-conditioned homes, and we see someone on a street corner, holding a sign asking for help.
One part of me is cautious, being a female alone in my car with my young kids. The other part of me feels AWFUL. I want to make a difference and help this person, as I would hope someone would do for me if I were in the same situation.
Plus, now I am a MOTHER. My kids are always watching me from the back seat. I’m their role model and teacher. They have questions on why this person is standing here holding up a sign. I want to both explain in a way they can understand as well as teach compassion.
Enter: Blessing Bags
At a recent SMB contributor dinner, Kate Thompson Eschbach talked with me about Blessing Bags and how she always tries to have them on hand when driving around town. I thought this was a great idea for my kids (and a few friends) to come together to appreciate how we are so very blessed with a home and food a-plenty. It’s also a great way to show our children that even as kids, they can begin to find ways to help others.
Want to do this with your friends and family too?
Here’s the plan:
First, organize a few of your Mommy friends to come over to assemble blessing bags. To keep costs down, make it potluck and ask each family to bring one item for the bags. Since the bags may stay in your car for sometime, you want to select things with longer shelf lives.This is a list I came up with: Plan for 10 bags per family. One item each per bag. Individual granola bar snack packs Dried fruit packets (raisins, cranberries, etc) Individual peanut or almond snack packs Snack packs of pretzels, goldfish or crackers Snack packs (small) of cookies Small wipe packets Travel size Purel Travel size tissues Turkey or Beef Jerky Blank notecards Small paper or plastic bags (goody bags that you use for birthday parties work well)
When the families arrive, have one parent talk to the kids about what it means to be homeless. What are the true necessities in life? Why it is important to help those in need?
While this is going on, have the other parents assemble all the materials on the counters and table so that the kids can fill the bags in an assembly-style fashion.
The kids can then place one item into each bag. For the notecards, you can have the kids (or parents) write an inspirational message and decorate the card. Another option is to have an addresses list of local shelters to include in the bag.
Once the bags are prepared, we stapled the tops and divided up to each family to take home. I kept 5 bags in my car (inside the driver’s side bottom door pocket) and 5 bags in my husband’s car.
We (thankfully) have not yet come across someone in need while driving, but one of my friends who came to the event has given out 3 to 4 bags since. She said that the individuals were very thankful, and she and her children were thankful to have found a way to help someone in need.