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How to make a blessing bag for the homeless - part of a great series on making closer families through "Happy Family Habits"

Happy Family Habit #10: Creating a Blessing Bag

Today we’re focusing on giving back in our month long mission to eat better, parent better, organize better and just generally live better this year. 

We’ve got another Happy Family Habit for you to start working on.  It’s #10 on our list and I personally think you’re gonna love this one…

You know that feeling you get when you see a situation you wish you could fix?  It’s a tugging of the heart strings when we see someone we want to help, but just don’t know quite how.  I live in a metropolitan area, so every time I walk down the street I’m encountering homeless people.  Sometimes they ask for money and sometimes they’ll just hold a sign telling about their misfortune.

When my kids are with me, I wonder what kind of an example I’m setting in theses types of situations.

There’s part of me that knows giving money to someone that possibly has a substance abuse problem isn’t the wisest choice, but walking by without doing anything doesn’t feel good either.

Over a year ago, I decided to take action and talked to a friend of mine who was homeless at one point in his life.  I asked him, what do homeless people really need?  The answer surprised me…Socks. 

He said it’s easy to find food.  (Many shelters off at least two warm meals a day to anyone that walks in.)  Money is most likely spent on alcohol and drugs.  But, the homeless don’t use washers and dryers, so a clean pair of socks is a luxury item.

I started carrying socks around everywhere.  I always had a pair in my purse and at least a few in the car.  The kids totally bought into this.  They loved handing them out and we even went to specific homeless parks last year to hand them out.  You can read about it here.

child packing a blessing bag

After a year of handing out socks, we decided to put together a Blessing Bag.  The items are easy to get and can keep forever in your purse or car.  These essential items that we take for granted can lift the spirits of someone living on the street.

Of course, the specific items can be changed, but make sure that any food you use is non-perishable. And remember, food is most likely easy to find, so toiletry items are especially appreciated.

a blessing bag for the homeless

The kids were able to help me shop for the items and put together the bags.  They also love to hand them out when they are with me around town.  I love that they are truly invested in helping others.  Together we are exercising compassion in our every day lives.

More Helpful MPMK How-Tos from this month:

 

 

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P.S. Looking for more ways to simplify and connect with your family?


POYEL ebook and printables

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MPMK's Famous Toy Gift Guides

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Kristin is a former teacher turned children’s photographer in southern California. Visit her website to read all about her adventures in photography, cooking, and her love of style.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Natasha January 14, 2014 at 5:22 am

Wow. That really touched me. So clever. Thank you for the inspiration!!!!

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Steph (MPMK Founder) January 14, 2014 at 5:24 am

So happy to hear you like the idea Natasha. We can’t take credit for the concept as it’s been floating around out there for a while but we definitely thought it was one worth sharing!! Hope you make “blessing bags” a part of your 2014 :).

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Brienne January 19, 2014 at 11:44 am

Wow! Great idea. I’m scheming about how to implement this idea in our tiny town. There are no formal homeless shelters here but there certainly are friends in need. Need to figure out a way to contribute something like this in a discreet way. Thanks for the post.

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kristin eldridge photography January 19, 2014 at 9:06 pm

Thanks Brienne! You’re right, these changes can happen in urban areas and small towns. I love that we are changing the world together!

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Mysty January 22, 2014 at 6:51 am

I love this idea! Thanks for sharing!

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Susen February 2, 2014 at 3:30 am

Love it!

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Kimberly February 4, 2014 at 8:48 am

I am completely in love with this idea. I always try to figure out exactly what to do when me and the boys come across someone on the street. I do my best to explain to the boys what we can do to help, but this seems like a very tangible way to let them in on the plan. THANK YOU!

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Jan February 18, 2014 at 8:57 am

This is a wonderful thing to do – especially as it etches a lesson to children that will last a lifetime. I have been shipping to the Troops stationed around the world for the past eight years. I hope you won’t mind a bit of advice. We have learned that food items need to be kept seperate from hygiene items. As they say, Right Guard is great and Oreos are great. Oreos that taste like Right Guard – not great. Even though these items are “sealed” the still exchange odors. God bless you for all you are doing.

Jan

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Kristin Eldridge February 20, 2014 at 5:13 pm

Thanks for that tip Jan…I wouldn’t have thought of it!

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