smockmomma the bag lady *UPDATED*

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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?


We heard this idea when we went to NCYC and have made a few bags ourselves...we gave one out when we went down to Austin recently and it felt great to hand it out (we keep them in our car)

That's a great idea. My son's friend is a real smart-aleck; he's breaking his sensitive parents' hearts with his rebellion against all things Christian.

(He doesn't do anything BAD, mind you--rebellion is all well and good, but everything in moderation! :-/)

But at a recent youth gathering at their church, when leaders asked what activities they should plan (ski trips? lock-ins?), this kid said, "We should go visit the homeless!"


I hope they accept the challenge--I know I'd like to go along. I suspect if this guy actually came face to face with, say, a disoriented Vietnam Vet on the street he'd soil his pantaloons! But it'd be good for us. I know we've somehow accumulated a ton of blankets and old kiddie comforters in our house that can't be passed on because of dog-chew holes. I'd love to give them to people who have to huddle in doorways and search for grates!

Smockmomma - from bag lady to President!

Hi there Scockm0mma,

You know me as Ju Ju - thought I'd check out your blog. Pretty cool and keep 'em coming. I'm writing about the bags you are giving out to the homeless. First, where do you find your homeless boys and girls? Not in the suburbs as unless I've been out of the States too long, they don't hang out in the burbs? If so then yes I've been away too long. Here is my homeless story - and the reason why I NEVER give money to the homeless - and I live in one of the largest urban cities in the world, London - I see it everyday, I see it EVERYDAY. I took a help bag similar to what you are now giving out, this was a few years back after I'd just moved to London, and still was quite innocent really about the motives of people who simply choose to find another alternative to earning a living other than working. I took a bag full of good, cutlery, even some booze to this fellow who hung out at my local subway station, this was after a company party, and many leftovers. The fellow looked at my bag and said: "Lady, I don't want your food I want your money, how about giving me a tenner (which in the US was the same as $20." This has been uttered to me time and again by the homeless who stalk the subways, even the sidewalks where I walk with my child - so my sympathy and pocketbook are well closed to these clowns - who all have the same equipment as us physically but not the same mentality - that working earns us the money so we can buy what we need and want. Period. Save your bags Smockmomma. Unless they've just been released from a mental home and clearly cannot work, it's just not fair, right, honest for you to give away what you and your own work so hard to attain so that a 'homeless' man or woman might not have to go without. Believe me they do not go without. Of course I probably am London-jaded so what do I know. Maybe in general just approach with a massive dose of suspician and a dash of 'what the hell'. Love you smockmomma.

Ju Ju

when did you become a republican, juju? ::wink::



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This page contains a single entry by smockmomma published on January 29, 2004 11:15 PM.

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