The Blessing Bags project for the homeless has been a great reminder for our family that we have so much to be thankful for. We lived out of our suitcase for 10 months and didn’t have a home of our own but that was by choice! As insanely awesome as parts of that were for us as a family, some of it was crazy hard. The security and comfort that a home brings is pretty amazing. And we are happy to put down roots again.
When we think of homeless people we often think about taking care of their basic needs. Shelter, food, water, etc. We are not a big organization that can really make much of a dent in these kinds of issues. We are just one family that wanted to say:
“Even though things are hard for you right now, those things don’t define a WHO YOU ARE. You are worth so much!”
When we were putting the smaller blessing bags together we decided to do the backpacks because we were having too much fun with it and wanted to get more stuff!
That and the fact that we ended up with these brand new backpacks only to find out that they were intended for needy school children. When we registered the kids at their new school, out front there were some folks taking pictures and passing out backpacks with school supplies in them. I thought it was odd when they handed us a backpack so I asked “are these for us?” They assured us that they were for anyone who wanted them and proceeded to take the boys’ picture with a representative. Right on! Later I read in the local paper that they were being passed out to underprivileged kids. I didn’t feel right keeping them so we are using them now to house all the goodies for the homeless!
By investing a little more in a couple of Blessing Backpacks we were able to get some nice things – some of which they don’t actually need. We want to remind whoever gets them that they are valuable and important – worth the investment. We are surrounded by family, friends, love, and more than we need. The least we can do is sow that into someone else’s life that could use the reminder that the god of the universe has not forgotten them. Because the greatest poverty of all is the poverty of LOVE, RESPECT, FRIENDSHIP, AND WORTH. Hopefully they will feel a little richer in these things afterwards.
When buying the items we would put in the backpack we thought of what we would want if we were in their situation. Just because they are homeless doesn’t mean they don’t care about the same stuff we care about. We are all human and carry the same needs and desires. My suggestion is to just have fun with it. If you are crafty make some hand made cards of encouragement or crochet a hat or scarf. If you are a writer include a compact journal with a pen. My feeling is that if the person doesn’t like an item they receive they can give it to someone who will. And they would feel good to be able to give something nice to someone else. Think about what you would want if you were broke and living on the streets.
You can certainly still convey this message with the basic blessing bags. I think the biggest thing is to add a personal note to show you care.
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