The homeless. Children in the hospital. Nursing home residents who have little or no family. At this time of year, our thoughts are more aware of those less fortunate than ourselves. What can we do to help?
One of the most important acts of kindness you can ever do for anyone is to pray for them. When our petitions are offered to God on behalf of others, He is pleased. For those who may be in the hospital, hospice, nursing homes, prisons, or those who are homebound for one reason or another, a short visit can also lift their spirits and make their day brighter. “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.” (Romans 15:2 / NIV)
In watching a recent episode of the Hallmark Channel’s weekday talk show, “Home and Family,” Kym Douglas demonstrated what she referred to as Blessing Bags. You may have heard of these or some variation of them. They are basically Ziploc bags (gallon-size is recommended to hold the contents) filled with all sorts of goodies. If you’re short on cash or change on the spur of the moment, these bags can be assembled ahead of time and kept in your car until the time to share them presents itself.
You can customize your Blessing Bags dependent upon where you live, the climate, culture, your recipient and the amount you can comfortably afford to invest in your project. For someone who is homeless, you might include nonperishable snacks, a small bottle of water, plastic spoon/fork, socks, disposable handwarmers or footwarmers, and toiletries (deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, Band-Aids, baby wipes, an inexpensive washcloth). Travel sizes are ideal. Such nonperishable food items as breakfast bars, raisins, nuts, small pop-top cans of tuna, applesauce, fruit cups, and individual cocoa or spiced cider mixes are good choices. If you happen to frequent hotels, you can save the miniature soaps and bottles of shampoo/conditioner. Kym also mentioned that a bag of quarters in a separate snack-size baggie is often appreciated for use in doing their laundry at a public laundromat. For children, you can add a small toy or stuffed animal, crayons, coloring books, small puzzles or comic books.
If the Blessing Bags are for nursing home patients and you happen to have a crafty hand, you might consider crocheting or knitting a scarf, afghan or blanket. If you prefer to make the presentation more decorative, you can use colorful bags, tissue paper and ribbons. Once your bags are ready for delivery, adding nuts or a piece of fresh fruit is a nice touch. To make it a special keepsake, use a basket instead of a bag to form a Blessing Basket. Ideas are limited only by your imagination.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12 / NIV) Grab a bag and share your blessings with someone. You’ll receive a blessing, too!