Last week each family at my children's school was asked to donate a few items for a Hope Bags project. I'll admit I didn't read the fine print. I just sent in two pair of tube socks (requested for my son's grade) and several cans of flip-top veggies (for my daughter's grade). No biggie.
Today I got a grocery-size plastic bag (a prepared HOPE BAG) with this note:
"Sometimes when we see homeless along the road, we may agonize over giving them cash and sometimes, we just ignore them altogether. Most people would give a homeless person food if it were available in their cars. The Hope Bag is meant to be a simple answer to this dilemma...[by providing] a single serve, nonperishable meal...[a clean pair of socks]...a note of support, hope and prayer [written by students], and a map of local homeless shelters."
I have a really soft spot in my heart for people on the streets. I have always given money to people who asked, even when I was in college. There was only one time I didn't trust a kid, so I took him to eat at Mickey D's instead of handing him money. I could tell he was a street kid, but he was too jittery. He probably needed alcohol, but he looked hungry, too. He just ate his food and refused to answer any questions; but when he was finished he asked for a cigarette (I obliged) and he mumbled, rather sincerely I might add, "Thanks, Lady."
As you can imagine, I have had my fair share of people who think I'm crazy for passing cash -- "for booze 'n drugs" is one popular accusation. My response is always the same. My job is to give charitably. I'm not responsible for how they spend it. However, I think these HOPE BAGS are an incredible idea! Especially for those who are uncomfortable giving cash.
These are EASY to make. So feel free to make one or two...or five.
UPDATE: PROJECT HOPE BAGS is a nationwide interfaith outreach project initiated by the high school youth and adults at Christ the Good Shepherd Catholic Community in Spring, TEXAS. is it any wonder i love my faith and my state? does anyone know how to say yeeHAW in Latin?