Helping Friendly Bags
2021 started with my mother-in-law struggling to fight cancer. My wife spent a good amount of time with her mom and had a chance to be with her before and when she passed (February 13th, a day before my wife’s birthday on Valentine’s Day). During that period, our church was doing an activity where they provided snacks & paper bags that my sons and I picked up, packed at home, and dropped back off at the church. The bags ended up being distributed to Asheville’s homeless neighbors for Valentine’s Day.
On February 21st, I was browsing Amazon for an outdoor heater. I experienced an overwhelming urge to think of others before myself. Thinking about huddling around an outdoor heater, perhaps entertaining friends in a safer way due to COVID, just seemed like a privilege I was hastily extending to myself while people on the streets fight for health and safety every day. I stopped myself and started a cart full of personal care items and colorful bags which soon thereafter became my first batch of “Helping Friendly Bags”!
Every bag has a set with toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, shampoo, and comb. Deodorant, wipes, Chapstick, mylar blankets (replaced by sunscreen in the summer), flashlights, nail clippers, notepads, pens, crayons are some other items that can be found in the bags. They end up costing around $15 a bag and typically have around 15 items in them. My goal when I set out on this mission was 200 for the year. As of this article, I (along with the help of friends and family) have purchased items, packed, and distributed 150 bags.
If just one of them impacts someone to give them courage to fight their way out of homelessness, it will be worth every penny and all the time invested!
If you would like to see more pictures and information, visit my website: https://www.dreaminrainbows.com/helping