Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Today's tip: bag it!

I live in a metropolis. I don't know what it's like where you live, but we have a considerable population of homeless. They are on the corners of most busy intersections with their signs and ragged clothes and vacant faces.

I also have children. With compassionate hearts. I have one, too, but it has been hardened by years of overexposure to ... well, too much. It is still compassionate, but with a thick, cynical shell.

These things together make for a difficult situation as we make our way around town. A couple of years ago I came up with a solution: our homeless bags.

Here is what we fill our bags with:
  • a water bottle
  • water flavoring
  • crackers
  • cookies
I usually buy a 6-pack of water. Then I buy a box of the flavorings. Since they come in boxes of 12, we put two in each bag. I buy a box of crackers and we divide them among the bags. They usually come in 8's, so some bags get one and some get two. I also add some kind of cookie. This time I got some Little Debbie's. I have also gotten animal crackers. Everything is individually wrapped and non-perishable.

Some of the other things we have added at different times are:
  • candy canes at Christmas
  • toothbrushes (you can get a pack for $1 at the dollar store)
  • toothpaste
  • little cans of fruit (make sure you add a spoon)
  • napkins
  • bandaids
We keep a larger bag of them in our car. When we see a homeless person on a corner we are passing, we hand them one. My children are happy because we are helping the seemingly helpless. I am happy because I am helping without feeding a bad habit. Call me cynical, but I am. I just told you that!

I have never failed to get a smile from someone who has received a bag. And that can even crack my cynical shell just a little.

"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." 1 Peter 4:10

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Julie,
You humble me sometimes. This is a wonderful idea. I wonder if someone has an idea how some protein might be added to this packet inexpensively.

Lee

Julie said...

We have also added Vienna sausages. They really gross me out though, so I don't add them often. There is some protein, however minimal in the cheese or peanut butter in the crackers.

YD, sometimes with Samantha & June said...

That's very nice of ya'll to do that.

:::b r a n d i::: said...

That's a lovely idea. I wish more people would do things like this instead of ignoring the homeless and looking at them like they are a bug.

Adrianne said...

I work in a metropolis too, this is a truly genious idea. I hate giving out money sometimes cause you can tell its just going to feed a habit. An idea like this feeds a person. As to the comment about proteins, I bet beef jerky could do the trick. Far less icky than the vienna sausages.

Tipper said...

Wow-what a wonderful thoughtful thing to do!

Barb said...

What a wonderful idea. I had a friend who used to go downtown and hand out happy meals to the homeless kids every payday.
I guess we are fortunate to live in an area without many "visible" homeless but I certainly think I could make these up and drop them at a women's shelter. Thanks for the idea