Well, we have come up with a plan, of sorts, in response to last week's tension. We still aren't 100% sure what we would like to do on Christmas Day, but Aaron and I agreed that we needn't wait until then to act. We have decided to make bags to keep in the car and hand out when we see someone in need. I did not come up with this idea on my own, no we have Pinterest to thank. Of course.
Charlotte and I went to the store and got various toiletries and some granola bars to put into the bags. When the bigger kids got home we sat down and made 5 bags with the items we had. Soap, razor, washcloth, deoderant, Gold Bond powder, granola bar, toothbush/paste. It all went into the bags. The kids were rather put out that we couldn't make more bags and Tyler kept saying over and over "These bags need more food, Mom! This isn't enough food! We need to go to the store for food!"
We scoured the pantry for something to add in and found some hot chocolate packets. After I put the packets into the bags, Tyler followed me around the house saying we should take them out unless we planned on including cups and water bottles, too. "How else would they drink it, Mom?"
Lily was bothered by the absence of something healthy, so she grabbed apples from the fruit bowl as we were on our way out Saturday. She had a bundle in her arms so high I could only see her nose peeking over the pile. I could hear her grin as she chirped, "Put 'em in the bag, Momma!"
In two days we gave out all five bags. Every time she saw someone, Charlotte would get excited and bounce in her seat shouting, "MomMomMom! There's a guy, there's a guy!" Then she would try to unbuckle herself so that she could be the one to lean out the window and hand the person their bag.
The recipient was usually flabbergasted, sometimes confused and one guy laughed out loud as he looked through the items. Since we gave them at stoplights we usually zipped off as soon as the bag was placed into it's owners hands, so I can't really tell if the bags are truly helpful. I hope they are.
Now, I would like to ask my local friends and readers for help. I don't expect that you are going to feel like joining us on Christmas Day with whatever activity we choose to do, and that is ok.
I want to ask if you would pledge to give out a number of bags of food and toiletries between now and Christmas.
My hope is that we could give out 2,300 bags throughout Sacramento County (and anywhere else people choose) in the months leading up to Christmas.
That number is significant; it is the number of "chronically homeless" individuals there are estimated to be in Sacramento County. I have no idea how accurate that estimation is, but it is what I have to go on. It is something to work towards.
As a family, we decided to try to give out 100 bags. They won't all necessarily look like the bags we gave out last time, becuase toiletries are quite expensive. We will likely try to give bags with a smaller mix of food and toiletries. The point isn't how big or small the bags is, but that we are doing something tangible and real that will hopefully bless people who feel unloved and ignored.
Will you join us? Will you keep bags in your car or in your backpack/briefcase/purse to hand out as you are going abut your day?
The sky is the limit of what you could do and who you could motivate to join you...it can be a family project or done with scout troops, school classes, church groups, book clubs, office mates, carpool buddies, the poker guys, soccer team, bible studies, playgroups, library friends, PTA....I could go on and on.
If you do decide to join me in this can you do one little favor? Can you comment below, via twitter or on facebook and let me know how many bags you want to give out and where you are from? One bag, 10 bags, 100 bags, it does not matter how many you would like to do, but it would be awesome if you did it.