Momma Told Me: Blessings Bags: Help For The Homeless You Can Provide

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Blessings Bags: Help For The Homeless You Can Provide

Momma Told Me: You never know, until you've walked a mile in their shoes.

I've never been homeless. Even during my most harshest struggles I've never run out of options; and while I still pay my bills check to check, in that sense, I've been quite fortunate. When I see someone on the corner asking for work, food, or money, I never judge them. I understand all too well that these people were not always here; many of those in need were once living very much like I, or even better. And every story is so wildly unique, to have culminated in such tragedy; to judge would be to add insult to a life that I do not know. Naturally, there are some people who ask, that have alternatives. But the majority of those outstretched hands are asking because they have no other choice, not because it is 'easy' or their preferred way.

The beginning of February marked what would have been my grandmother's 72nd birthday. She was a generous woman who never closed her door to anyone. Family functions would include down and out employees from their (my grandparent's business), or a hungry stranger from Main St. My grandmother was a woman who would literally give you the clothes off her back, of it was her only means of help in that moment. I watched her give material possessions away countless times, simply because someone offered a comment of praise regarding it. Her family was her biggest fortune, and she made sure her grandchildren understood that. To say that I wasn't profoundly impacted by her generous spirit and charitable nature would be false.
Charity does not brag.

And I am not here for any praise or attention, simply to pass on something I have done through the past year that I feel we all can do. Because I would like to hope a wonderful woman's impact continues to spread long after she is gone.

It physically pains my heart to see people living on the street. And, like so many communities, there are certain spots I cannot drive past without going by a down and out soul with a cardboard sign. I have always tried to give whatever small bills I have on hand, but even that didn't seem enough, when I would later pass another, and another, person in need. I couldn't possibly hand them all money, or I too would be in need! But that didn't mean that I couldn't hand them something. A while back, on Pinterest, I came across a concept entitled 'Blessings Bag.' Regardless of religious beliefs, I've been hard-pressed to call it anything else, especially since so many of the truly grateful 'bless' me upon receipt.

The concept is simple, and one that costs me pennies per bag, thanks to couponing and mailed samples. It's no secret, as a blogger, I receive a multitude of product, and samples, to brag about here on Momma Told Me. For the most part, between my coupon stockpile and these samples, my friends and family get to go shopping in my cupboards when they wish. But even that does not move the generosity of what my 'talent' can bring in, or the companies send. A 'Blessings Bag' is a sack, in my case a Gallon sized Ziploc, with some basic human essentials and food. I make about 10 at a time and keep them in both of our vehicles. When we are out and I see a sign or hand in need, I hand one of these over, sometimes with a few bucks if I have them, sometimes without. At the very least it is something, and I am never empty handed.

Anyone can make these bags; for a community project, a family lesson in charity, or a personal initiative. I like to include generic toothbrushes, trial sized toothpaste, deodorant, a small pouch of baby wipes, a disposable razor or two, some vitamins and a few things to munch on (granola bar, sports drink/water bottle, pouch of tuna). Many of these things I get close to free with coupons, or through blogging, but you can also put these together for very cheap with a visit to your local dollar store, or through community donations. No matter how you do it, or what you put together, it's sure to truly be a blessing to those who receive.

What Daughter Says: I'm grateful for everything I have, and especially grateful I can share it with those who don't.

9 comments:

  1. That is a great initiative and so simple to follow

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  2. What a great idea. I'll need to see what shelter near me might like something like this and perhaps my daughter and I can put some together.

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  3. Love the idea so I even liked it on fb!

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  4. wow! what an amazing idea, why didnt i think of this? so simple to put together yet so useful for so many in need!

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  5. This is a very good idea! I hope everyone does this!

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  6. What a very simple idea to really help someone in need. Thank you for sharing and for the reminder that even helping one person makes a difference.

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  7. I love that you make these bags to give out to those less fortunate. I wish everyone helped others, if even just a little.

    Dawn

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