Brooding On

Blessing Bags

I know, I know, "do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing" and all that, but this is just too good not to share.

I found the idea for Blessing Bags on Pinterest (ahh, Pinterest).  The idea is that you put together bags of goodies that someone homeless or otherwise in need might beneift from.  Then, you keep one in the glove compartment of your car at all times so that when you encounter someone asking for help, you always have one handy. 

I introduced the idea to the kids at a family meeting, and they loved it!  We then tried to think about what it would be like not to have a house to sleep in or money in our pockets.  What kind of things would we really like to have that we could possibly fit into a gallon-sized baggie?

They came up with lots of great ideas.  Here's everything we put into our baggies:

toothbrush and toothpaste in travel case
granola bars
snack crackers
hand sanitizer
cough drops
a five dollar bill
Here, the girls are working to assemble the bags.  Little Boy (not pictured) was very much a part, as well.
We put together a total of 10 bags-- one went into the glove compartment.  The other 9 will wait in the closet for their turn. 
We shopped the dollar store for lots of the items (2 packs of hand sanitizer, 8 packs of tissue, etc.) then filled in the rest with stuff from Wal-mart. 
Not including the five-dollar bill, each bag cost us approximately $5.90 --money well spent, if you ask me.

Today's kids, in general, seem to have a real bad case of "the gimmes."  Because we don't have TV at our house (and thus, no commercials), I think we escape a good deal of that throughout the year.  But, Christmas season has a way of bringing those selfish desires out of even the most good-hearted kiddos.  That's part of why I love this activity.  It asks kids to figuratively step out of their comfy house, give up their warm dinner, and embody someone else.  They get some very nice lessons in what it is to show love to others, see beyond the self, and differentiate between wants and needs.

What do you think?  Have you done something similar?  Can you think of anything else that would be great to add to the bags?