We think anyone who has faced the dilemma of assisting someone at (e.g.) the end of an expressway ramp or red light -- and being unsure if its prudent to give money can appreciate the idea of blessing bags --offered to us by Kenny Kidd, Executive Director of FOCUS NA.
Consider carrying 1 or 2 "Blessing Bags" (see photo) in your car and store them in a location that is easy to reach whenever you might encounter someone in need as you are on the road. The jury is out whether a paper or plastic bag is better…….a paper bag can be burned in a campfire, but is vulnerable to the rain; a plastic bag will protect items from the rain, but often ends up as litter. There is no easy answer here.
Items to consider including in a Blessing Bag:
- 1-2 pairs of socks;
- 1-2 bottles of water;
- Travel-size toothpaste/brush;
- Travel-size soaps/wash cloths;
- Breakfast/cereal bars;
- Protein bars;
- Peanut butter/cracker snacks;
- Apple sauce cups; and
- Fruit cups
There are many other non-perishable items that could be included…..these are the items that are often easy to find in bulk.
Parishes can easily create a ministry in which a service group "builds" these bags and makes them available to parishioners to carry in their car. When purchasing in bulk, supplies for 10 bags will cost close to $45.00-$50.00 making the cost per bag close to $4.50-$5.00. Parishioners will often donate the costback to the ministry --making it self sustaining.