Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Count Your Blessings: A Service Project

     BLESSING BAGS. We have all seen people on corners asking for help due to their bad circumstances.  I'm pretty sure we have all wanted to help somehow, but didn't really want to hand over cash (which I think is fine!). I've handed over cash before, but I prefer to give something I know will be helpful like a water bottle or a banana. A friend of mine shared this idea on FB, and I loved it so much that I knew it would be a perfect homeschool project for me and my daughter Marley, especially with Thanksgiving drawing near. The blessing bags are filled with useful hygiene products and snacks, and are ready to go in your car for when you come across someone you feel prompted to help. And if you never feel the need to give them out, its also great emergency preparedness for your car!

     We made our field trip out to the dollar store and went through the aisles picking out things we wanted to put in the blessing bags. While walking through the store, I explained the project to Marley and we discussed how some people do not have homes or food, and its nice to help them sometimes because Heavenly Father wants his children to care for each other. She recalled the time when her dad gave a homeless man the shoes off his own feet because the man needed shoes. She was excited to tell me "Daddy gave the man his shoes, because he doesn't have a home like us." Today she also pointed out to me that if someone doesn't have a home, they can't have a Christmas tree! She loves her Christmas tree. Making her aware of people in need was a cherished lesson.

     When we got home we laid out all the supplies on the table and lined up our empty Ziploc Bags. Marley did all the packing, I just kept handing her the bags and told her how many of each product to put in the bag. (Counting practice applied!) I felt like each item we placed in the bag was a reminder of how many small blessings we have. Literally counting our blessings. Marley was very happy to do most of the work herself. Independence is a wonderful thing to a 3 year old. We made 6 blessing bags. All the supplies were around $35 and we had a few items left over.
     
          Once the bags were filled, I asked her what message we should put inside the bag for the people. I gave her 4 or 5 options and she picked "Heavenly Father Loves You." I printed out the messages and cut a strip for each bag. We read the words together. (Reading practice!) She also placed the messages in the bags. Afterward I rearranged the bags to make them efficiently placed and pretty, but she doesn't need to know that. ;)

     This was an enriching project and perfect for this time of year. I feel like we both had a memorable and sweet experience putting these together and I look forward to handing them out with Marley in the car. I am thankful for all of my blessings! Pay it forward.