We all want our children to be loving, giving community members. But children might feel like they can’t do much to make a dent in the bigger problems of the world such as homelessness, pet overpopulation, or global warming. One way to get your kids personally involved in selfless giving is by making “Blessing Bags.”
A Blessing Bag is a gallon sized re-closeable bag filled with water, food, cold weather clothing, and personal hygiene items that might be helpful to a person who is homeless. Blessing Bags can be put together as a family and then carried in the car. When you pass a person on the street asking for food or money, you can easily hand them a blessing bag.
Item ideas to fill your bags:
- Emergency blanket
- Hand warmers
- Bottled water
- Snacks and non-perishable food items (such as a granola bar)
- Disposable toothbrush
- Small package of tissues
- Travel sized lotion
- Wet wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Lip balm
- Other travel-size hygiene items such as soap, body wash, shampoo, deodorant
In hot weather consider adding sunscreen or extra water. Fill your Blessing Bags with items appropriate to the weather in your area. Children can also add a note of encouragement or draw a picture to insert in each bag. Another great idea is to type up a list of local resources in the area such as soup kitchens, shelters and free medical clinics and include this resource guide in each bag.
A note about safety: Children are naturally friendly and want to be helpful. Caution kids to NEVER approach a stranger without being accompanied by a parent or caregivers. For example, when handing out a bag from the car to someone standing on a street corner, it is wise to lock car doors and lower the window to hand out the bag. When walking, approach with caution and use your instincts and common sense.
Making and handing out Blessing Bags can bless others while teaching kids about giving.