Bags of Hope

As you know I have been volunteering at the local homeless shelter for a number of years now. In their brochure is one way we can help those who are on the streets, and that is to offer a Bag of Hope. I’m sure you’ve seen the men and women on the street corners holding up signs asking for money or food. Honestly, it isn’t a good idea to give them cash. Many of them have addictions and your money could be used for more alcohol or drugs.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7238.jpgBut what is a good idea, is to have a Bag of Hope in your car, ready to give to someone in need. The gallon sized bags have soap, Kleenex, hand wipes, wash cloth, socks, water, snacks, such as granola bars and crackers and maybe even a gift card to an area fast food restaurant. I knew the women at my church would want to do this, so I organized a small group of women to get a tour of the Miracle Hill Homeless Shelter, have a meal of soup and to put the bags together.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7240.jpgBecky, the women’s director of MH, spoke about the types of women who normally stay at the shelter. They come from every socio-economic level, many have addictions and mental illness. Some have been abused or have just fallen on hard times. She could be any of us at any time. Miracle Hill provides a safe, christian and structured environment for the men and women to rest, recover and get back on their feet.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7241.jpgThe women from my church brought with them items that could be put into the bags.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7242.jpgWe laid it all out and started filling the bags. The original list included toilet paper. Well, I got the big rolls which were really too big for the gallon sized bags. The list also included soap. Dumb me got Irish Spring. Do you know what a strong scent that is? Don’t use it for this purpose. It ends up making the packaged food taste like leprechauns and green hills.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7243.jpgWe pulled all of the soap out of the packages and donated them to the mission. This made sweet Angie very happy! Pennies Of Time Blog wrote this great post about the bags she made with her children. The idea of using smaller sizes makes so much more sense.

Yesterday morning as I was leaving Panara, I saw a gentleman walking across the parking lot with a backpack. I pulled up beside him and offered him one of my Bags of Hope. He was surprised and very thankful. I’m so glad I had one in my car.

Then, later that day, I was getting off the highway and sitting several cars back from the stoplight. I saw an older man standing on the side by the intersection. I wished I had another bag to give him. Then as the light turned green and I was pulling through, I saw that he was eating some crackers from a gallon sized ziplock bag! AWESOME!!!

Bags of Hope
Gallon size ziplock bags.
Hand wipes.
Soap. (Many haven’t had a bath in many days or weeks. They want to be clean.)
Washcloths.
Toothbrush/toothpaste
Non-alcohol mouthwash.
Socks (A very appreciated gift)
Deodorant
Fast food gift card
A card with information about the homeless shelter, The Soup Kitchen and a nearby church. These are called Bags of Hope. We pray the people receiving them will not only see kindness from a stranger, but will see that there is hope in their lives. There are places nearby with a warm bed, good food and spiritual nourishment.

Well, thanks for dropping by!

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Office White Elephant Gift

The annual Christmas office party is tonight. Some years we have the party at a local greasy burger-bar joint. (We like to keep it classy.) Actually, it’s a great place to have a party. They shut the place down for us, grill delicious steaks and turn the music up. We can get as loud and silly as we want, especially when we do the Chinese Exchange. (I know I’m being completely politically incorrect by calling it that, but I don’t know it by any other name. Do you? Please let me know!) This year we’re having it at one of our favorite Italian restaurants. Superman may have to curb his enthusiasm this year. (Yea right.)

Everyone brings one $20/less wrapped gift. Everyone has a number. Then as you know, each person takes a turn opening a gift from the middle or taking someone’s gift they’ve already opened. Hopefully, as the game goes on, more and more “stealing” takes place. Superman really gets in his groove taking people’s favorites and shaking things up. It can get rowdy.

The gift you bring can be something pretty awesome, like a basket of homemade goodies, a warm wrap, bottle of wine or a pretty Christmas decoration. OR it can be silly, like the box of chocolates that the giver had already poked her finger in each of the candies to see what was inside and then wrapped it all back up…cellophane and all! Or the carol singing catfish which could hang on your wall. OR a box like this!IMG_7097.JPGSuperman’s office is filled with seven lovely ladies and two men. You can only imagine what it’s like to work with Superman. So I thought it would be fun to put together a survival kit to working at WHA. (I pronounce it Wa-Ha.)

IMG_7098.JPGThis office is handling people’s money and insurance. It can get stressful. You just never know what the day will bring. I covered a shoe box with shelf paper and decorated the top with stickers.

IMG_7100.JPGI think this is all self explanatory, but I’ll describe just in case you need more info.

IMG_7101.JPG1. Wine Glass/Wine. I used my Cricut machine to cut the lettering, but any small stickers would work. You could even use a marker to write it. Cost: Wine glass-free (cheap one from home) Wine- $4.99
2. Frame. Place a Hershey bar in frame, print out wording and decorate the edges with tape. Cost: Frame-$1 Candy-$1(both from Dollar Tree)
3. Chill Pills. I used an empty dry lemonade container, decorated with papers and ribbon, then filled with jelly beans. Label says “Chill Pills. Directions: Take a chill pill immediately after any unfortunate encounter with an angry, annoying, frustrating or unpleasant individual. In case of emergency and/or following a long meeting with any combination of the above described types, break glass and consume entire contents.”

IMG_7102.JPGThis warning was put on the back of the bottle. Hee hee. Cost: Jellybeans- $1.59
4. Poo-Pourri. This is probably the best invention ever! Spritz this spray into the toilet before you poo! The oils provide a film over the water and cover the contents of the bowl until you flush. There are products out there that you can buy in the store. Their commercials are pretty funny. I saw this homemade recipe that I thought I’d give a try.
Recipe: 2Tbl of rubbing alcohol
6 or so drops of a essential oils
Water
(Just between you and me, I don’t have essential oils around my home, so I used the oily liquid from my air freshener. You know the kind you put the sticks in. We’ll see how it goes.) The directions on bottle: “Shake bottle. Spritz bowl a few times before pooing. Flush!” Cost: Bottle-$1 Spray-free
5.Stress Relief. A bag of bubble wrap.
6. Silly Chinese YoYo. cost: $1
7. Organic Bubble Bath. Mixed beans. Cost: free
8. Money Tree Seeds. Green M&Ms (M for money!)

So there you have it! My Gag gift for the office Christmas party. Silly? Yes!

And our “good” gift is a warm snugly blanket. The girls complain about the frigid temperatures Superman likes to keep the office, so I thought I’d help them out.

Thanks for dropping by!

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