Depending on where you live, you have more likely-than-not seen someone at an intersection with a sign asking for food, money, work, or just a smile. Maybe you gave them a buck or two, maybe you looked away, but I bet there was some part of you that felt sad and wishing you could do more to help.
A few years ago, I started pulling good jackets/sweaters/socks out of the pile I would donate to Goodwill, and kept them in the back seat of my car instead. Whenever I came upon someone in need I would offer one to them. Every single time they were elated, and I got a pretty nice shot of feel-good right in the chest to boot.
I told my friend Adina about this, and she took it to the next level by organizing a “Blessing Bags” gathering on Veteran’s Day. We created a list of most-requested-items (list below) and had everyone sign up on a shared (google) document to avoid duplication, with one exception: socks. I had read and heard that socks are the #1 most requested item at homeless shelters (https://thejoyofsox.org/why-socks/), so I asked everyone to bring socks plus other item(s).
The day-of, we had about 20 adults and 4-6 kids participate. We filled over 100 bags in about 30 minutes, and that was with shared snacks and beverages in hand. Because we had male & female socks, and pads/tampons, we labeled our gallon ziploc bags with “M” and “F” and then filled the rest with gender-neutral supplies.
My kits have gone quickly, and each exchange is a genuine one. I am grateful for the kindness of my friends; by pooling time and resources we assembled quite useful kits that hopefully will help every recipient feel a little warmer, a little cleaner, and a little more seen.
Consider throwing a “blessing bags” party of your own. It’s a great excuse to see your peeps, family-friendly, and is a really easy yet rewarding way of Generating Kindness.
Tampons, sanitary pads
Heat packs (hand warmers)
Compact reusable bags
Reusable water bottles
Photo credits to Ania Pulliam and Caroline Bellach Quick