Homelessness in Houston is a real problem. There are so many ways to help and today I’m going to show you one, Blessing Bags.
Blessing bags are fairly inexpensive, easy to make and easy to share. A blessing bag is essentially a bag of things a homeless person would need.
For our bags we focus on food and hygiene needs.
For food think portable, filling, high protein, easy to open and nutritious. Another thing to consider is softness.
Remember most homeless have poor dental health so softer foods are preferred over crunchy or sticky foods. Today we put Vienna sausages, beef and cheese sticks, applesauce and chocolate pudding in ours. If you foods require spoons don’t forget to include them.
As far as hygiene consider skin, hair and dental.
Things to remember are that homeless are in the elements all day. Consider lotions, chap sticks, sunscreen and bug spray.
Also remember homeless don’t always have access to showers. Lots put soap, shampoo and ect. in blessing bags but, the reality is these items cannot always be used. Plus, they can make food in the bag taste like soap. When homeless have access to a shower (think shelters) they typically have soap and shampoo available. Instead opt for things like baby wipes that can help a person clean in between showers.
We placed lotion, chap stick, a comb, baby wipes, toothbrush and tooth paste in our bags. Band-aids are always handy so we included those as well.
Top it off with water.
We always include a bottle of water as well. Steer clear of sugary drinks, again think dental health.
To make the bags simply, put your supplies in a gallon zipper bag. I like to use the freezer bags because they are a little thicker.
We also write a little note on the front saying “With this bag comes the prayers of the Wortham family”. We pray for each person we give a bag to. I think it’s just a nice way to let them know someone cares.
Once the bags are made I place them on my hall tree by my keys. That way as I’m leaving the house I can grab one if I know I will be going to an area where they may be needed.
Some people leave theirs in their car after they are made but, it’s summer now and I think everything would melt plus, I don’t like the idea of plastic water bottles getting hot.
A few other great ideas for blessing bags are socks, bug spray, sun screen and beef jerky. You can even place your items in a travel mug rather than a baggie.
Or if you think Blessing Bags are a hassle get a few gift cards to cover a meal each at local fast food restaurants. Keep them in your console and hand them out as needed. I keep a few of these handy in case I forget to get a Blessing Bag and have never had one turned down.
When handing out Blessing Bags please hand them to the person and make eye contact. Don’t ever throw them out your car window or shove them at the person without ever saying a word or looking at them.
Really, it all boils down to help how you can and remember the homeless are people too. Treat them with kindness and love. If you don’t have the means to make a Blessing Bag or buy gift cards but you have half a pizza left from dinner wrap that puppy up and find someone who would love a hot meal. It truly doesn’t have to be perfect, pretty or expensive to help someone in need. It just needs to come from the heart.