The Kusi Life

Blessing Bags for the Homeless

How to Make Blessing Bags for the Homeless- thekusilife.com

I first heard about Blessing Bags for the Homeless from my sweet friend Michelle at Trust Me, I’m a Mom and I thought they were such a genius idea! There have been many times my kids will see someone on the street or the side of the road with a sign asking for help. Their tender hearts are touched and they want to do something – but I have always heard that we should never give cash – just food or items that would help someone who is homeless or down on their luck. I have gone and purchased food to give before,  but I often find myself where its just not feasible – and that is why these Blessing Bags are perfect! You can have some all ready to go in your trunk so all you need to do is stop by and give them one!

My kids and I had a great time making a list of things we think are perfect for Blessing Bags, shopping for said items, and putting them together. I love involving my kids – they had some ideas of things I had not thought of, and the whole idea of practice what you preach comes into play. If we want our kids to be more thoughtful of others, then serving is the best way to help cultivate that, not just talking about it! I thought this would be a cool Youth Project, or as a Family Home Evening too.

How to Make Blessing Bags for the Homeless- thekusilife.com

Here is the checklist that we came up with of things to pick up while shopping. You can download your own free copy HERE.

{Remember you do NOT need to have a DropBox account, just click “No Thanks” and it will take you to the page to download your free printable}

Reading through all the websites of our local homeless shelters, all of them recommend NOT giving cash to our homeless friends. While not all of the homeless people we come in contact with have the same stories or needs, it is best to allow those who are trained to help them. There are many who will turn around and use the cash they are given to buy drugs or alcohol. It is best to give them something to eat, or something they can use to help them, and then direct them to one of the shelters to get the proper help and hopefully get them on their way to a better life. The homeless shelters offer a place to stay, a hot shower,  a place to wash their clothes, a warm meal, and programs like addiction recovery, or to help them find a job and permanent housing.

How to Make Blessing Bags for the Homeless- thekusilife.com

The cool thing about Blessing Bags is that you can make them as simple or as elaborate as you like. I found that if you purchase a lot of what you need in bulk (think Costco) or from the travel size section, you are able to give a nice variety of things that anyone who is living on the streets is sure to appreciate. If that person does not care for or need one of the items, they will often trade each other for things they do need or like.

How to Make Blessing Bags for the Homeless- thekusilife.com

I saw many people who just use a gallon size Ziplock bag and stuff it with whatever they can fit in it. Others bought new socks and stuffed the socks with things they could use, or they filled up old backpacks. I remembered these cool bags from Ikea – they are just .99 and I thought would make the perfect Blessing Bag!

How to Make Blessing Bags for the Homeless- thekusilife.com

We first thought of personal care items. I was told that homeless people generally have access to shampoo/conditioner and soap as they can take showers at the homeless shelter. We tried to think of things that they would like to have. We did buy some specific things for women (hair ties, feminine hygiene products), and some things for men (shaving cream and razors). It was mentioned that the toothbrush should have its own cover to try to keep it sanitary.

How to Make Blessing Bags for the Homeless- thekusilife.com

We put all of the personal care in a ziplock bag to try to keep that stuff sanitary as much as possible.

How to Make Blessing Bags for the Homeless- thekusilife.com

Men or women will be happy to have a nice new pair of socks- when they walk daily, their feet are happy with some nice warm socks for the winter, and in the summer, just regular socks are best. A warm hat, scarf, or gloves is always appreciated in the wintertime, while a big brimmed hat and sunscreen are great for summer. We picked up a big box of hand warmers that last 8 hours which is always welcome!

How to Make Blessing Bags for the Homeless- thekusilife.com

We also picked up some of the non-perishable items that are easy to eat while on the streets. The soup we bought has the easy open can so they could eat it cold if they had to. We also included some plastic cultry to eat applesauce or pudding. Nuts, seeds, or trail mix is good for the protein, along with beef jerky. Soft granola bars ( Cliff Bars are a good choice) or fruit leather are good options – I read to avoid hard or sticky things as you don’t know if they will have access to toothbrushes or dental care. I did include some Milano cookies – they are a favorite of mine and I thought someone might love a nice treat that is out of the ordinary!

How to Make Blessing Bags for the Homeless- thekusilife.com

Everything fit in our Ikea bag with room to spare!

How to Make Blessing Bags for the Homeless- thekusilife.com

There are small fleece blankets they sell at Wal-Mart for $5 that could be used as a lap blanket, to sit on, or as a pillow.

How to Make Blessing Bags for the Homeless- thekusilife.com

The bag is good sized and our homeless friends can use it after everything is gone, or they can fold it up and save if for later if they would like!

How to Make Blessing Bags for the Homeless- thekusilife.com

We also included a free printable note you can download HERE. It has this “Please Know you Matter”, 6 per page. You can print and cut and just write a personal note on the back, or you can glue it to a card and write a note.

How to Make Blessing Bags for the Homeless- thekusilife.com

I think a personal note is always nice, just letting them know you hope these items brighten their day.

How to Make Blessing Bags for the Homeless- thekusilife.com

I have also included lists of the local shelters and kitchens here in Salt Lake. You can cut them off and put them in each Blessing Bag. You can find them HERE and HERE.

When delivering the bag make sure you never go alone, and that you are out in the open where others are coming and going. Make sure you don’t just throw it out of your car, but take some time to say hello and explain a little about the Blessing Bag. Tell them they matter and that there are several places they can go to get a hot meal, a haircut, shower, even wash their clothes. There really are so many places that can help them.

If the Blessing Bag is not something you would like to do, but you want to help, there are many ways to donate or volunteer. You can donate food items, personal care items, clothing/bedding, and even your time by serving food. Just google “homeless shelters in (and then the main city you live by)” and each site has the donating guidelines, addresses, and those you need to get in contact with to volunteer your time.

What are some other ways you have gotten involved in your community to help the homeless?

See the Happy!

 

How to Make Blessing Bags for the Homeless- thekusilife.com

 

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