Blessing Bags and the Ripple Effect of Giving

 

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Two days ago, I posted on Facebook about a simple yet profound interaction I had earlier in the day:

Today, as I drove home from work, I pulled up to a stoplight next to a homeless man with a sign that said “Grateful Always”. I rolled down my window as he sat down, looking cold and tired. I said “Excuse me,” but he didn’t hear me. I said it again, and when he looked up, he jumped up to meet me at my car. I handed him one of the blessing bags my daughters and I had made a couple weeks ago, with toiletries, snacks, hats, gloves and other goodies inside. He immediately perked up and said thank you. Then he looked down and saw the socks in the bag, and his face lit up with what looked like relief. “Are those thermals? Thermals! Thank you, thank you… You have no idea how hard it is to find these in the homeless shelters…” His voice trailed off and he started crying. I couldn’t help but cry too. We stood there for a second, holding hands, crying over a pair of socks. After I drove off, the tears stayed with me; that pair of socks was less than the cost of a holiday flavored latte, yet their value was immeasurable.
 
Today is #GivingTuesday, ironically enough. I’ve never felt more confident that the world, and most certainly our country, needs extra kindness, compassion and generosity NOW, more than ever. It doesn’t take much to give someone the strength to push forward, to help them get through another day. And in so doing, your heart will fill more than you might expect. Sometimes all it takes is a pair of socks.
 
#mamasmovemountains

Well, I was completely blown away by the response. So many people commented, liked, shared and said they too were inspired to give more. My heart is full and humbled, honored to have inspired so many. And in turn, I am inspired to pour more light into the world, every chance I can. Thank you – from the depths of my heart, thank you.

Many of you asked for a list of what was in the blessing bags, so you could make your own.  Really, there’s no right or wrong ingredient, just include anything that you think would help someone living on the street. I originally set out to make blessing bags because I wanted to include my 3-year-old daughter in a service project, to help teach her the beauty of giving and the importance of kindness. Since she loves shopping, putting things in bags and sorting, this seemed like the perfect mama-toddler activity. We originally made 6 bags, which we stocked with things from Dollar Tree – I think the total bill only came to $50! Here is what we included:
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  • fleece-lined hat
  • gloves
  • thermal socks
  • soap
  • toothbrush and toothpaste
  • razor
  • dog treat
  • tissues
  • comb
  • tampons
  • snacks
  • hand sanitizer
  • chapstick
  • And, of course, a note from my daughter and I. She scribbled some colors, and I wrote, “May You Be Blessed” or “May You Have a Blessed Day”

 

I wanted to include sunscreen but Dollar Tree was no longer stocking it. And, in full disclosure, I thought about condoms but then figured that might be awkward when my very inquisitive daughter asked what they were, and if it was some type of candy.

I keep them on the front seat of my car and hand them out whenever I pull up next to someone with a sign asking for help. Each time, they are grateful. Each time, I am reminded that doing something good is simple. The action doesn’t have to be big to make a big impact. Anything is everything.

I hope you will include your children in making some blessing bags for your neighborhood, and keep the ripple effect of kindness spreading wider and wider. I would love to see pictures of your bags, or of your children making them, and I would love to hear about your experiences – please share in the comment section!

Keep moving mountains, mamas.

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