One of the reasons that I coupon is so that I can have the fortune to help others. Many couponers donate to causes that are dear to them. My local Coupon Group donates HBA to Naomi’s Closet in Santee, CA. We also support one of the local American Legion posts with two of their service projects: Coupons to overseas families and homeless veteran outreach.
We are able to donate and help others because we use coupons and shop sales. Many times we are able to pick up free items to donate, or items that are 80%+ off the regular price.
My mom’s group has made blessing bags in the past (We usually make some to be handed out at a local homeless camp on Christmas Day). For those who are not familiar with the term, a blessing bag is a small bag (usually a ziploc type bag) filled with:
- small or travel sized toiletries
- snacks like crackers, tuna in a pop-top can or pouch, granola bars, instant oatmeal
- bottled water
- hard candy
- lip balm
- safety pins
- hand/baby wipes
- an extra ziploc bag
- Feminine Hygiene supplies
- A large trash bag folded up (It can be used as a rain poncho)
I try to keep a couple in my car and I hand them out when we see those in need while we are out. For those of you who aren’t native to Southern California, there are a lot of homeless here. We have good weather most of the year, so it’s ok to sleep outside 6-8 months of the year. According to the 2014 Homeless census in San Diego, there are over 8500 homeless residents in San Diego. That’s just the number that were counted, there are many more that were not.
Last year Lil’ Man and I made blessing bags several times and we plan to make more this year.
I keep all the samples I request in an up-cycled baby wipe container under my bathroom sink.
I also go through my HBA stockpile for items like BIC razors, lip balm, and toothpaste I picked up for free after coupon and store sale.
My parents travel a lot for my dad’s Board position in a non-profit, so they always have a stash of hotel soap/toiletries. My parents give us a grocery bag full to assist in the cause.
Last year, Lil’ Man and I sat on the floor and put together 26 bags. Not every bag had the same items in it, but they each contained a variety of HBA, snacks, and supplies.
Blessing bags area great way to help those of your neighbors who may be on the streets. If you live in an area where there isn’t a large visible homeless population, consider making blessing bags and donating them to a shelter or checking with your local churches for homeless outreach.