I have very few good ideas that I can claim as my own. So I’m thankful for all of you out there who are blessed with creativity and willing to share those ideas with people like me. One of the great idea finds for this fall, led to our family and our church putting together “Blessing Bags” for the needy in our community.
We run across people all the time who have very basic needs. Deodorant, toothbrushes, lotion, soap, food, and warm clothing are luxuries they often do without. Sometimes these people are homeless, sometimes they are just down on their luck. After reading someone’s account of keeping survival packets in their car just in case they ran across someone in need, I knew we had to do this.
As we talked, others began to get excited about joining in the project. So we invited our church to get involved. They were amazing. With just a little bit of notice and in the midst of holiday busyness, they purchased items to bless and encourage others.
We asked for:
Gallon sized ziplock bags
Trial sized toiletries (soap, shampoo, lotion, mouth wash, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.)
Pair of warm socks
Gift Certificate for restaurants/food
Pair of gloves
Individually packaged food snacks (granola bars, crackers, trail mix, apple sauce)
Travel sized pain relievers (Tylenol, Advil, etc.)
They came up with great ideas, above and beyond what I had listed. We separated the items, put them into ziplock bags, and took them to church Sunday.
We encouraged people to take 2 – 5 bags and keep them in their cars so they would be ready to bless others when the opportunity came.
We just distributed the bags on Sunday, and now, on Monday, we are already hearing how our church has been encouraged and has encouraged others by helping meet a need in a small, but tangible way.
One of the great things about a project like this, it makes you look for opportunities to minister and see needs that were never before recognized.
David and I have long believed that the church has allowed the government to take over the responsibility of meeting the needs of people. It is great to see the body of Christ come together and get excited about helping others.
These bags are such a small thing in relation to the need. The contents will be quickly used up and the people will probably still be in want. But, if we can encourage, if we continue to look for opportunities to serve the least of these, if we take advantage of moments to share the love of Christ with those around us maybe this small thing will build big faith in us and in those placed in our care.