Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How to: Blessing Bag

When I saw this pin on Pinterest, I was inspired. Now, this isn't the first time I have been inspired by something I have seen on Pinterest. In fact, I have had many posts inspired by outfits I had seen first on Pinterest. However, this was the first time a pin inspired me to take immediate action. I can't really explain why, but it did.

Have you ever seen a homeless person begging on the side of street while you were waiting at a traffic light? In my hometown, I am very fortunate that I almost never see homeless people in my community. However, commuting between the Baltimore and D.C. area frequently exposes me to the large homeless population. For the most part, I feel nothing but uncomfortable. If I am in the car, I lock the door, stare straight ahead, and hope that the homeless person does not come up to my window. I have always been skeptical about giving away my money because I fear they will use the money for drugs or alcohol, or they aren't truly in need. Plus, I almost never have cash on me. But, I know that many of these people need help.

Entering the blessing bag. Filled with pre-packaged snacks and toiletries, this bag can go a long way to help someone stay nourished and clean. In addition, I have a better piece of mind knowing that my money was actually used to help feed someone and keep them clean - not for drugs or alcohol.

Blessing bags are really very simple to make. Here's what I used to make mine:

-gallon Ziplock bag
-juice box
-apple sauce
-fruit cup
-animal crackers
-cereal bars
-sandwich crackers
-baby wipes

I also included a note that said "Together we can change the world one good deed at a time. Pay it forward."

Other things that you could add include socks, a $5 restaurant gift card (McDonalds, Starbucks), deodorant,  tissues, etc.

I read quite a bit about things to include and not include in blessing bags. For instance, you don't want to add mouthwash because of the alcohol. In addition, a lot of people discourage adding hard food like cereal bars because homeless often have brittle and soft teeth. However, I opted to add some foods that were crunchy because I think they are more substantial. In addition, people discourage gum because it doesn't eliminate bad breath, it helps it permeate. So, I chose mints which can be sucked on. I also read that it's better to pack baby wipes for cleansing. That way if someone doesn't have access to a shower, they can easily clean themselves off. In the end, how you decided to make your bag is your personal choice; this is just how I decided to make mine.

I tried to buy items that came in a pack of six, that way I could easily make six bags. Now that I have finished the bags, I keep one in my glove compartment so I can always have one on hand to give out if I am ever sitting at a stop light. The rest I keep in a box in my trunk so I can replenish as needed.

I hope this post inspired someone like it inspired me. After I saw the original post, I went out the next day to get the supplies I would need from Target. That's how inspired I was. Plus, blessing bags are so easy to make, and are surefire way to know how your money is being used. 

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