Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Blessing Bags

One day, long, long ago, John and I were traveling.  I don't know where to but only that we were young and penniless.  Okay.  Not penniless, but definitely living paycheck to paycheck.  We stopped on our journey to grab some lunch.  When we pulled in, there was a man on the corner holding a cardboard sign that read, "Hungry - please help".  It bothered me.  It always does.  I HATE thinking of anybody going hungry.  It also bothers me that able people choose panhandling.  It is a rule that we never give a stranger money.  If they have a need, we will  meet it if we can, but not by a cash handout.  We went in and ate and then headed out to the car.  I could see that he was still standing there.  I told John I wanted to do something.  We took the little cash we had left and got him a meal.  I was skeptical about the situation, and expected the food to be placed down while he continued to hold his sign and "earn money".  But he didn't.  He thanked John and immediately sat down and ate.  I wanted to cry.  Why hadn't we bought him so much more?  I never forgot that.  And EVERY time I see someone on the side of the road, I'm bothered.  And I'm torn.  I am always convinced that if I don't stop I am passing up angel after angel that God has sent to test me and I'm also convinced, if I do stop, I am putting myself in danger or I am aiding an addiction.

I bring all this up because I passed a guy with a sign the other day!  His sign read "Need 4.7 cents"  I have no idea what that means.  But the sign caught my eye, and he caught mine.  He smiled a sweet smile and waved.  I smiled back uncomfortably and kept driving and just poured out everything to God.  I didn't know what to do.  I never do.  I want to help.  I do.  But so often it doesn't seem right or safe.  What am I supposed to do?!?!  I vented my frustration and then went on with my day.  Not long after my complete melt-down with God, my friend posted this link:  BLESSING BAGS

It was the answer to my "prayer".  Carrying around gallon sized baggies with useful and edible items is just brilliant.  It was just the answer I needed.  Now I was enabled to help in safety and without enabling an addiction.  I love it!  I also love that my boys will be able to witness the act, and I hope that it will teach them kindness and compassion.

I'm anxious to gather the items and have the bags on hand ready to hand out when needed.  I would love to get together with a group of people who were anxious to do the same thing, so that everyone could contribute an item or two, and many bags could be made.  I don't know how long it will be before I'm able to actually go through with it, but I'm so excited about the opportunity to love people in this way!


  1. Amanda Clingerman always keeps a case of water and basket of snack items (and sometimes half loaves of bread) in her car for this exact purpose. But I love the idea of hygiene items and coins, too. Hope you are able to put it all together!

  2. I know exactly how you feel and I agree, that idea is a great way to solve both problems! Thanks for posting!

  3. I have the same helpless feeling when I see people with signs. I will not give them money. Money doesn't meet their needs. The items in the bag, however, meet many of their needs. I think I will add a personal note with encouraging scriptures. btw--I have travel size soaps, shampoos, and hand creams if you want me to bring them to you.

  4. Mom..those travel sized items are a great idea! "bring" them to me? are you coming up here? :)