Today we had an hour to kill. Hannah had a counseling appointment and I was just planning on dropping her off, then browsing at Target or some other store during the hour I had to wait. But Harrison wanted to come along to "get out of the house." So, he did. And after we dropped her off, we drove toward the stores.
We saw a homeless man on the street. There is typically a homeless man on this corner, panhandling, day in and day out. Sometimes it's an older man, sometimes another man who's not as old. Both hold signs, both appear to be disabled. Sometimes, one of them talks on a cell phone. Of course my mind immediately goes to "if he can afford a cell phone, he can afford food!" I don't know. Judgement probably has no place in the matter because whether he is mentally ill, or a drunk, or a drug addict, the point is, he still has basic needs.
A little further down the road we saw a young couple with two dogs. The man held a sign saying "Traveling. Anything helps." All I had in the car was a bottle of water. Harrison handed it to the man who thanked him and gave me a wave and a slight smile. I told Harrison I read somewhere about people who make up bags of things for the homeless and keep them in the car to hand out in situations like this one. Some call them "blessing bags."
We pulled into a parking lot to go browse in a store, when Harrison said "Why can't we go make up some of those bags?" And I thought, why not? So we headed to Dollar Tree, where I knew we could get everything we needed to make up some blessing bags.
I told Harrison we first needed big zip top bags to hold everything. I found a package of 15. He said why couldn't we make 100? I said "We're not rich!" and a man walking by said "Yeah, man, these are hard times!" Harrison mentioned that he had his own money. I told him I'd pay, but was happy that he was willing to spend his own money. We settled on the package of 15 bags and set about finding things to fill them. We got bottled water, granola bars, packages of cheese and crackers, peanuts, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, toothbrushes, and gum.
When we purchased the items the cashier said "Oh, some snacks!" and we told her what we were planning to do. She said some very nice words to Harrison about his generosity and said "Most kids your age would rather have the money than spend it on others!"
We paid less than $35 for all of it.
We set up a little assembly station in the car and set to filling the bags. We had about ten minutes left until we needed to pick up Hannah. We filled all 15 bags and then drove back to the couple we'd given the water to. We handed them two bags and they were very thankful. We then went back to the disabled man. Harrison jumped out of the car and asked him if he wanted a bag and he said yes and to put it by his backpack. So, Harrison did.
Then, we picked up Hannah and kept the rest of the bags in the car to hand out some other time when we see someone who needs a little help.
But the real blessing today was seeing what a generous, thoughtful son I have. We could have browsed in a store, and spent money on things we don't need to kill an hour. But he had a better idea. And I loved it!
Water and toothbrushes
Harrison holding one of the completed bags
The staging area in the back of the car!
Harrison offering a bag to the disabled man (mom spying through the car window to take the picture!)
Kids these days.........sometimes they surprise you! :) The whole thing took less than an hour of our time and cost less than $35. It was so easy. It's not hard to spread a little sunshine.