If you are looking for a super simple and fun service project that you can do alone or with a group, look no further. Making Blessing Bags for the homeless is a great way to involve kids in service and have a huge impact on the homeless community. Blessing Bags are simply that–bags full of blessings (useful items) for the homeless.
Before You Make the Bags, Talk to Your Kids about Blessing Bags and Homelessness
Make sure your children understand what you are doing and why. You may need to tailor your talk depending on the ages of the children participating.
- Younger children may need to learn what a home really is and what kinds of homes there are. Have children think about what kinds of shelters homeless people might find or make.
- Talk about the definition of poverty. Make sure that the children understand that just because someone is homeless doesn’t mean that they are lazy. Sometimes people have a hard time finding a job. Unfortunate things could have happened to them that were beyond their control.
- Talk about what a neighbor really is. God wants us to take care of our neighbors. You could read the story of The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).
What To Do:
Gather some useful items that might be a blessing to someone who is homeless. It could be anything from non-perishable snacks to hand warmers and water. Even small pads of paper and pens could be of use. If it’s winter, hand warmers are definitely welcome!
Here is what we put in our bags:
packs of oatmeal
fruit cups with plastic spoons
candy and gum–Homeless people deserve a little luxury too!
bottles of water
a handmade card
We had the privilege of doing this service project with some of our friends from a homeschool field trip group. We gathered together at The Cookery, a local restaurant that helps train men who were formerly homeless so that they can take their newly found culinary skills to the workplace.
The organizer divided up some items from her list amongst the participants, just to make sure that there weren’t duplicates. All the items were laid out on separate tables. Then the kids went around with gallon size bags and filled them with one of each item. After all the bags were filled, we made cards to put inside the bags. Each child got to take home a Blessing Bag to give away to someone in need. Then we got to eat lunch at The Cookery, and the proceeds went to support their fantastic program!
What If You Don’t Have a Group to Make the Bags With?
Although this is a really fun thing to do with a group, it is also an easy project to do as a family. It just might cost a little more to get supplies for the bag!
Or get your own group of friends together and make a party out of it!
How Can You Give Out Your Bags?
We pass a lot of homeless people on street corners, selling the Contributor, a newspaper designed for the homeless to sell and make money. Because of this, it is easy for us to hand out our bags as we travel around town.
Almost every medium to large size town will have people you could hand your bags out to downtown. Parks that homeless people frequent could be another option. If you aren’t comfortable with that, or don’t have a convenient way to hand the bags out, you could donate them to a homeless shelter or food bank.
Say a Prayer for the People Who Receive Your Bags
It is wonderful to teach your children to care for others, but God is able to do so much more than we are. We need to remind our kids to pray for those receiving the bags and ask God to touch their lives as well. It also turns the focus off of our good deed, and points the glory where it is deserved.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV
Have you ever made Blessing Bags? What other ways do you serve the homeless?
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