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Hope Bags – Hope for the Homeless

January 2, 2010

Give Hope.

My husband and I had a wonderful and blessed Christmas with our kids.  We had gifts, went to church, had wonderful food, and lots of laughter.  It dawned on me, as it has on many occasions before (but I was too slothful to do anything about it), that our children may be under the false impression that most people live the way we do.  We live paycheck to paycheck, but somehow there is always food, somehow there are presents under the tree come Christmastime.  Somehow my husband is able to buy me fresh flowers every week.  Occasionally, our electricity or water gets cut off (more often our cell phones) and like so many other Americans right now, we are in the process of trying to save our home from foreclosure.  We are in negotiations with the lender.  I don’t know if it’s going to work out, but all we can do is pray hard and work hard.  Even though we have the aforementioned financial woes, we live a blessed life that most people would love to have.  We do (eventually) get the bills paid and the water turned back on — there is so much love, laughter, and spirituality in our home and I am so thankful everyday — even in the storms, I praise the Lord.

So I was thinking about our kids and how to get them involved in some sort of ‘service’ project that would not only enrich them, but cause them to pause and think about others instead of living in their perfect little bubble of peace, love, and family.    We live in a large metropolitan area and it seems on nearly every street corner there is a beggar — dirty, worn clothes, cold, hungry, ignored, and alone.  I know that many of these poor folks have brought their plight on themselves, but I don’t care about that.  I used to pass them up with disdain for this very reason (excuse?).  I want our kids to have a heart for humanity, a love for the less fortunate.  We teach them that it is not government that should (or even can) cure the woes of the poor, the addicted, the lost — but US!  Yet as we taught them these truths, we weren’t doing our part to be an example.

I came up with “Hope Bags – Hope for the Homeless”.  We went to the local grocery store, bought travel sized toothpastes and toothbrushes, plastic cutlery, many pop-top cans of food and soups, sweets, and small bottles of water.  We placed the items in plain brown paper grocery bags.  In addition to that, we made cards about the hope of the Lord with some Bible verses.  The kids drew some nice pictures on the cards as well.  We now carry these bags of hope in our car and whenever we see someone begging on the street corner, we give them a bag of ‘hope’.  It has been well received and the kids have become so mentally involved, they are forever coming up with ways to improve our project and to involve others.

We just began this endeavor, but hope to continue it well into the future.  It is my wish that we will one day be able to afford small throw blankets to include in the Hope Bags.  Our children (the teen ones that can write) are going to soon be writing essays about their experiences with the project, how it has affected them, and what they want to do next.

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