Cautiously Helping with Blessing Bags

After my incident last week when a woman scammed me out of $5 {read about that here}, I decided to investigate positive ways that people can help those in need WITHOUT giving money.

Especially around this time of year, we feel compelled to help more and more. There are very impacting ways to help throughout the year including volunteering at a homeless shelter, donating to a food pantry, and/or giving to a church. However, what do you do when you see someone standing at an intersection with a cardboard sign? How do you react when someone asks you for $5 in order to get home? These are immediate needs. Many of us want to help and do; but, the fear of being taken advantage of is real and should be thought about.

I talked with some of my friends who have much more experience with this than I do and wanted to share some ways to help, without risking your money. {Thanks Holly and Lexie!!!}

According to my friends, AVOID GIVING MONEY AT ALL COSTS. There are ways to help that are actually very much appreciated by those who are in need. And those who are out to scam, they typically fess up when you offer tangible items in place of money.

OK – so no money… what do I give?

Have you heard of a blessing bag? These little gems are a life-saver that I wish I had heard of before now. These are simple bags that you can fill with various items that truly HELP the homeless. {Click here for inspiration.}

Grab a gallon freezer bag {or something similar}, fill it up with the necessities, and keep some in your car {at least one in the front so you don’t have to leave your car to retrieve it when the need arises}.

Sample items for blessing bags:

  • Granola Bars & Snacks
  • Soap
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Gum/Mints
  • Comb
  • Deodorant
  • Small First Aid Kit
  • Socks
  • Gloves
  • Quarters and/or Gift Cards
  • List of Local Resources {Simply Google “CITY, STATE Homeless Shelters” for a full list of shelters near you. Print off this list and have it available for handout as the need arises.

BONUS: Putting together blessing bags as a family opens the conversation about helping those in need while demonstrating charity.

Let’s test this out. Here’s the scenario:

You are getting into your car after shopping and someone approaches your car and asks you for some money to buy some food. Since you read this article and are now properly equipped, you hand them a blessing bag and wish them a good evening. Hopefully, they say thank you and have been blessed for that evening.

NOTE: Trust your gut. If you feel uncomfortable for any reason, leave as quickly as possible.

Another way to help is to educate yourself. By knowing the services in your area that are able to assist those in need, you can offer a positive solution. Ask them if they know about the services & if they have considered utilizing them. If they aren’t aware and/or are choosing not to use the resources that can help them, encourage them to seek that assistance for future help.

Additionally, pray. Pray for these people that their circumstances might change for the better. There are so many reasons why people end up homeless or in need. Rather than judge or criticize, let’s pray and help.

In my research, I also found this great article for additional ways to help the homeless year round.

I hope this article helps you as much as it has helped me. I have my list for my blessing bags ready and am going shopping tomorrow morning. I encourage you to do the same.

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Peace & Blessings,
Andrea-sig

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2 thoughts on “Cautiously Helping with Blessing Bags

  1. Pingback: Give Help WITHOUT Giving Money | Fun & Frugal Mama

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