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.
But 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.
Becky, 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.
We 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.
We 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.
Soap. (Many haven’t had a bath in many days or weeks. They want to be clean.)
Socks (A very appreciated gift)
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!