How to bless the homeless cheaply and creatively

We’ve all experienced that uncomfortable moment at the stoplight when we see a homeless person with a sign. We’ll avert our eyes, pretend we don’t see him, and hope he doesn’t look directly at us. We’ll rationalize that he’ll spend the money on booze anyway, so we’d just be enabling him. We’ll say, “I already donate to those causes so I don’t need to help each homeless person I see”.

Is this a Biblical attitude? Let’s see what God’s word says:

“Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” – Isaiah 58:7

“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” – Proverbs 19:17

“He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the LORD.” – Jeremiah 22:16

The poor and needy are all around us and should be seen not as a nuisance, but as incredible opportunities to show God’s love. We get the joy and He gets the glory!

Instead of giving cash, my family and I have always kept “blessing bags” in the car. They are cheap, fun to put together, and an awesome example for the kids that we, as Christians, don’t ignore the needs of others.

Here are some suggestions for making your own blessing bags:

  • 1 gallon Ziploc bag
  • Chap Stick
  • Juice box
  • Bottle of water
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Ibuprofen/Tylenol
  • Wet wipes
  • Mouthwash/Toothbrush/Toothpaste
  • Food items like power bars, cheese and crackers, bagged tuna, canned goods (with pop top), granola, fruit cups, apple sauce, trail mix
  • Plastic utensils
  • Band Aids
  • Small Bible
  • Nice personal, encouraging note
  • Prepaid phone card
  • Socks
  • If it’s cold – gloves, hat
  • Cough Drops

The list could go on and on, but you get the idea. Most of these items can be found cheaply (less than a dollar). Do these with your family or have friends over and make a party of it!

Do you do blessing bags? What other items did we miss? Let us know!

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8 thoughts on “How to bless the homeless cheaply and creatively

  1. I’ve been doing this for a while. Every time I stay in a hotel, I grab all the shampoos, soaps, etc., and use them to fill give away bags. I also keep bottled water in my car to give to people (it gets really hot here in TX). You’re setting a great example of practical assistance!

  2. I love the idea of the “Blessing Bag” but I respectfully disagree about putting in the bible. I know that you do it with the best intentions, but I believe it can be offensive to some and smacks of an “ulterior motive”. Giving should be done out of the goodness of your heart and not to “spread the word” no matter what your intention, that is how it comes across. I would be offended.

    • Miss Jill,
      Would you not toss a rope to someone who has fallen off a cliff? What is offensive about being given a Bible? Would People Magazine be more beneficial in your eyes? The truth is that all of humanity is in a spiritual battle for our lives and the Word of God is the key to everlasting freedom. So, if love is our “ulterior motive” as you put it, and love tells the Truth, then shall we not offer the greatest Love about the greatest Man who died for humanity once, for all?

  3. Ms. Jill,

    Thanks for the comment. Your point is well taken. I can understand how someone would feel like we are only helping them so we can prosthelytize. The reason we put the Bible in there is twofold:

    1. We are called to do it as Christians. Mark 16:15 – “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation”. I believe we should do it respectfully, so simply giving a Bible to someone meets this criterion in my mind.

    2. We are blessed by God and want to bless others because of it. It’s a way of saying, “I’m doing this because I love God and I think you have spiritual needs (as we all do) as well as physical needs.”

    They have every right to reject it, but it won’t stop me from trying 😉

    Hope this makes it a little clearer. Thanks for reading!

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