• Serving Others: Homeless Gift Bags

    frugal living

    Because this Tis’ the season to be giving I thought it was fitting to repost this.  Warms my heart every time I read it!
    I had coffee with my friend Kizzie not to long ago and she was telling me about how she started making Homeless Gift Bags.  I fell in love with the idea and wanted to share it with you.
    Written by Kizzie (Coupon Connections Class instructor)

    I watched a few clips online from the new TLC show “Extreme Couponing” and I really felt challenged.  I have a stockpile that is growing in abundance and using it to share with my family, friends and neighbors.  But I wanted to do something more.   So I asked myself, what else can I do?

    My solution: homeless gift bags. So often I see someone on the side of the road and feel sad that I cannot give much…giving away some of my stockpile felt like a practical solution. So I went to the dollar store and picked up some paper gift bags. My daughters (ages 2 and 4) and I came home and began filling the bags with items from our stockpile (toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, food, bandaids, body mist, maxi pads…etc…I also included a note and a picture that my girls colored just to make it more personal). We now keep the bags in our car so that when we see someone on the side of the road with a homeless sign, we have something to give. I was a little nervous to start giving the bags away, I did not know how they would be received, but all we have gotten is positive feedback. So, grab a few papers bags and start filling them up :)


    Your turn, what ways do you use your stock pile to help others?


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    Author: amber


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    15 Responses to “Serving Others: Homeless Gift Bags”

    1. Katie says:

      I love, love, love this idea… How about including a bottle of that Wisk laundry detergent and some quarters for the laundromat?

      • Rosario says:

        What a beautiful gesture…This idea makes me smile. I’m going to do this and invite my family to join me. What about those single packets of Tide we get at Target for free?

    2. Julie says:

      LOVE this idea! When I lived in a cit with homeless folks I always had protein bars to give. I the summer I usually had bottles of water too. (Sometimes I would give a small bag of dog food and water to those with dogs – so many have dogs I always felt bad for them.) Not nearly what you have in your bags though! Thanks for looking out for others – I know they appreciate it!

    3. Kimberly Martin says:

      Love it! May good things come her way!

    4. Sarah says:

      I have been doing the same thing. Mine are filled with Ritz and full tubs of peanut butter (great thing to use the coupons for as my family eats Adam’s from costco). I also use raisins and tuna packets, both keep well. Every time I buy my free toothpaste, toothbrushes and toiletries, it feels exciting to get a “present” for someone in need. The recipients are usually a bit surprised to see this prepared bag of items and have a face full of
      appreciation for the action. Thanks for the great suggestions here; I will put them to use :-)

    5. Michelle McAninch says:

      Great idea! I’ve been giving away food & toiletries from my stockpile to my dad’s organization. It’s a non profit ministry for men & women that have been in prison, helps them get back on their feet & find work. Many are homeless or really desperate. I was able to take 12 grocery bags a couple weeks ago, so much fun! And I loved that my kids were with me, glad they get to learn to bless people early on! :)

    6. Hey, we do this, too! We fill up leftover goodie bags or brown lunch bags with a granola bar and an instant coffee, and we keep them tucked into the pockets of our car so that when we see someone on the side of the road we can hand them out the window. We also have two full cloth grocery bags: one for a man, and one for a woman. They have a ton of stuff in each of them filled with necessities like deodorant, toothpaste and brushes, soap, socks, canned food, feminine hygiene items, etc. It really is awesome to let our kids experience giving like this.

    7. Wendy says:

      My whole family donates its volunteer time to the Lynnwood Food Bank. We also donate to the food bank our “extras”. We pack up bags and give them out weekly to everyone, not just the homeless. Try to donate your time along with your goods. It sets an excellent example to your own family and to others.

    8. Becky says:

      I donate my extra stuff to the Everett Gospel Mission. They are always in need of donations. I help out at the Women’s shelter every other month with my church. The ladies there are very thankful for anything you give them. They are always needing the things that we get for free or super low with coupons like toothpaste.

    9. Liz says:

      I love this idea! I have been giving out bananas and protein bars. My four year old always asks why people hold signs on the side of the road, so when I saw this post I took the opportunity to call him into the office and show him this idea. He said he wants to put some together so we can hand them out. Thanks so much for the post!

    10. Beth says:

      My kids and I have talked alot about helping people in need. We like to give out a loaf of bread, jelly and peanut butter. Cheap things that make more than one meal. Also like doing cheese and crackers…That’s where our cheap Kraft singles will go, and our safeway peanut butter and jelly from last week. We also get the bread at the Orowheat outlet off the manager’s special, Sandwich thins for 79cents some days.

    11. Nika says:

      When I am able to get an amazing deal and/or when I have an overflowing stockpile, I donate items to a few local women’s and children shelters but this idea blew my mind. Living in a city with a high homeless population (Chicago), this idea has definitely given me a new use for my stockpile. Amazing ! Thank you !

    12. [...] ran across this post and decided this was a great solution to the problem! Gift bags for the [...]

    13. [...] post over on Coupon Connections caught my attention about making gift bags for the homeless with items you purchase at a discount [...]

    14. [...] Price: FREE + $0.03 MoneymakerThese make a wonderful donation item or you can add them to your Homeless Gift BagsThanks KCL for the deal and photo Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use [...]

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