How to Make Blessing Bags for the Homeless

Blessing Bag Main Image

Blessing Bags are gallon Ziploc bags filled with toiletries and nonperishable food items. These bags are extremely helpful to organizations with outreach teams that serve the homeless.

Between 2014 and 2015, the Sulzbacher Center’s Homeless Outreach Project Expansion (HOPE) medical outreach program provided outreach support to more than 5,000 people still living on the streets.  Because of the support from the community, our HOPE Teams are able to distribute clothing, blankets, food, water, and basic hygiene items to the homeless.

Check out the Sulzbacher_Annual Report_2015 for more impact stats. 

Blessing Bags are an easy, inexpensive way to help those in need and you can make them in the comfort of your home with family and friends.

Here’s how:

  • Identify a charity in need. 

While every charity loves a generous supporter with a willing spirit, it’s important to identify a charity to accept the donations before you begin your project.  Many organizations have restrictions on the kinds of donations they can accept. For some, storage space is often limited and needs change on a regular basis.

  • Decide on the contents. 

Here’s a list of items you can include in your Blessing Bags: bottled water/ juice box, granola bars, instant oatmeal packets, mints /hard candy/ gum, multipurpose wipes, compact First Aid Kit, socks, chap stick, toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, prepaid phone card,insect repellent, sunscreen,razors, feminine products, and a personal note of encouragement.

list of items to put in blessing bags for the homeless
Here’s an example of a blessing bag we created using a variety of donated items.

Keep in mind that most organizations that work with homeless individuals and families cannot accept mouthwash donations because mouthwash generally contains alcohol.

It’s also nice to include a resource guide for your area. Here’s an example of what we include in our Blessing Bags:

Blessing Bag Resource Guide Image

  • Package and Deliver
blessing bags in progress
Volunteers from COACH created more than 100 Blessing Bags for our HOPE Teams in April 2016.

This is the fun part. You can host a packing party among family and friends to create dozens of Blessing Bags for people in need. Be sure to package your donations neatly so that they may be temporarily stored if needed and label the bags to identify any gender specific contents. For example, if you decide to create different Blessing Bags for men and women, you should label some with m’s and others with f’s as w’s tend to cause confusion. Work with your charity of choice to arrange a delivery date and time and try your best to work within the organization’s regular business hours.

For more information about in-kind donation needs at the Sulzbacher Center, visit: http://www.sulzbachercenter.org/content/kind-donations

Jasmine Souers

 

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