Are you ready to make a blessing bag? I’ve come up with a checklist and some tips about how and what to give.
Blessing bags are a great activity to do with your family. Children (and adults) can learn valuable lessons about giving and helping others who are less fortunate.
It’s takes a little more effort than giving money, but a blessing bag is more thoughtful and it ensures that your “gift” is used in a productive way (after all, if you give money you never know how it will be used).
A blessing bag also rewards the giver. We gain perspective on what other people are going through and we learn empathy and respect.
We also help the community in which we live!
The following sections share more information about blessing bags and my blessing bag checklist. I hope it helps make this family project successful!
What Is A Blessing Bag
The term “blessing bag” has been around for a decades. The concept has been around for a lot longer if you consider that homeless shelters have long-provided simple necessities to those less fortunate.
Blessing bags, in particular, are a creation of the Christian church and they were created as a method of outreach to the homeless population. The blessing bag may come from the church, but the blessings within are an example of God’s love.
A blessing bag consists of a small bag, usually a Ziplock bag, filled with essential items. The keyword is essential.
The bag should not be viewed as a “gift”. Instead, it’s an opportunity filled with a few simple resources to help someone get through the day. Hygienic items, a comb and toothbrush, snacks, and inspirational reading material are commonly found in blessing bags (learn how to make a blessing box).
Why Giving To Those Less Fortunate Is Important
Helping others is important in all walks of life. Whether we realize it or not, we help people every day and we teach our children to do the same.
It could be as simple as holding the door open for someone, or giving a dollar to someone who is begging.
Giving is a good skill to learn and good for kids to learn (my long list of activities for bored teenagers)
When we give to others we often get something in return. The “thanks” we receive helps us gain perspective.
The act of giving takes the focus off ourself. Often, we realize how much we have compared to those who really need help.
Here are a few reasons why giving is important;
- God instructs us to give
- Giving helps our community
- Sets a good example for children and others
- Improves our perspective to what others are going through
- Shows empathy
- Makes us feel better about ourselves
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed. Proverbs 19:17
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrificies are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16
When I was young, I remember my mother telling me that when a homeless person asks for help, we should help them without question.
>> how to organize a mall scavenger hunt for kids
This mentality helped me to consider what others are going through and even if I had little money I tried to help (of course, it’s important to use discretion when giving as money isn’t always the best option).
Things You Need: Prepare A Blessing Bag (Checklist)
One of the things I like most about blessing bags are that they don’t involve giving money. Have you ever given money to a struggling person and wondered what they would spend it on?
Hopefully they spent it on a warm meal and water, however, you don’t have any control if you provide money.
A blessing bag may not have money inside but it does contain valuable items that everyone would find useful. Day-to-day necessities are important and they can keep someone healthy. Here are a few of the best items for a blessing bag:
- Gallon Ziplock bag
- Toilet paper
- Toothbrush and toothpaste, dental floss
- Sanitary wipes or antibacterial gel
- Granola bars
- Used watch
- Instant warmers (for cold nights)
- Emergency whistle
- Directions to community kitchen or homeless shelter
- Bible verses / Bible
- Protein bar
- Plastic utensils
- Small file (for finger nails and toenails)
- Hat (for sun protection)
- Inspirational story
- Plastic rain poncho
- Antibacterial ointment
- Shaving cream and disposable razors
- Homemade cookies
- Beef jerky
- Pen, pencil, and notebook
- Shampoo and lotions from hotel stays
This is my best list of items that could be used in a blessing bag. Obviously not all of these items will fit, so you’ll have to choose the items that you prefer.
Some climates may not need certain weather-related gear (such as gloves or hand warmers).
I tend to prioritize the health and sanitary items then I choose a few snacks to include.
Things To Avoid Putting In A Blessing Bag
- Avoid expensive items that could be sold for money
- Alcohol or drugs (this goes without saying)
- Heat or cold sensitive items (like chocolate that will melt in heat)
- Money (this is a personal preference)
- Sharp items that could be used to hurt others
- Used toiletries (toothpaste or antibacterial ointment that has already been opened)
- Food that will spoil (fruit is an exception for me)
- Too many sweets that could damage teeth
- Items with lots of packaging (reduce litter)
Why Setting An Example For Your Children Is Important
Cheers to you if you’re a parent and wanting to make a blessing bag as a family project. Children learn from activities like these and your example will go a long way in teaching your kids to help others (read my article how to teach kids prayer).
For this activity, ask your kids questions about why they should help others and why some people experience difficult times, such as homelessness. Talk to them about community programs and question your children:
- Are community services working?
- What could be done to better help homeless people (or those in need)?
- Is giving money always the best option?
- What are the alternatives to giving money?
- What are great items for a blessing bag (allow your children to come up with a list before using my list)?
A blessing bag is a fun activity that can also teach important lessons. It takes the focus off ourselves and helps us better understand what others are going through.
Making a blessing bag is especially useful to children and the activity teaches them empathy, kindness, and respect for others. At first glance, the act of giving seems like it only helps others, however, when we give we reap rewards also (it’s a feel-good activity).
My blessing bag checklist is full of everyday items that everyone will find helpful. You’ll only be using a small Ziplock bag, so choose the items you believe are most relevant (consider the weather as well). Prioritize hygienic items!
There are also items you might want to avoid, such as money, sharp objects, or expensive items that may be sold instead of used.
You might be wondering, “who do I give a blessing bag to”? Keep your eyes open when you drive to work.
Chances are you will see people who are asking for help (common at intersections)? Keep a few blessing bags in your vehicle and instead of giving money, surprise them with a blessing bag!