I’ve worked with homeless teens and with homeless adults. Homelessness is tough for so many reasons, but it’s incredibly difficult in cold weather. Dealing with freezing temperatures is not only uncomfortable and inconvenient, it can be harmful and even deadly. For years my family has made blessing bags for the homeless for cold weather care. You can make these to hand out yourself or to donate to a homeless shelter. This is a great project to do with children or with as a group activity.
Many years ago, my family started a tradition of making homeless care kits as a family activity. It’s important to me to teach my children about caring for others in our community. Making these blessing bags is a wonderful and concrete way to encourage helping others. It’s a great opportunity to talk with children about the needs of and issues facing homeless people.
Blessing Bags for the Homeless in Cold Weather
Ideas to fill a cold weather blessing bag for the homeless:
- Warm hats – Knit hats that cover the ears are the best choice. Look for a variety of colors so that individuals can choose a favorite color. This is also a great opportunity to make warm hats yourself. If this is a group project, you can solicit donations of handmade hats.
- Scarves – This easy houndstooth crochet pattern scarf is my favorite to make.
- Gloves – Look for both thinner and heavier gloves so that they can be layered. Ideally, you’ll include one pair of thinner gloves and a pair of heavier gloves in each blessing bag.
- Rain Ponchos – You can find these in the camping section of your department store.
- Heat Packs for feet and hands.
- Lip Balm – Extreme temperatures are tough on exposed skin and that includes lips.
- Hand Lotion – Chapped hands are an issue during cold weather.
- Tissue Packs
- Mints or Hard Candy – Everyone needs a treat and hard candy can also soothe a sore throat or cough.
- Gift Card to Local Restaurant or Coffee Shop – A $5 – $20 gift card allows an individual to seek shelter from the weather and enjoy a warm meal or drink. It also provides them access to a warm bathroom.
- A heartfelt note – Let your recipient know that you care.
You can use this free printable Stay Warm note. Simply print it out, trim and add to each bag. This is also a wonderful opportunity for children to draw pictures or write sweet notes (with some adult guidance of appropriate messaging). What is more precious than a hand-drawn picture from a child?
Place items in a zippered plastic bag to make them easy to store and hand out. It helps keep items clean in a difficult living siuation. The plastic bag can also be used for storage later.
You can read about how we set up our items in stations and have our children “trick or treat” to fill their care packages when we made blessing bags for the homeless for foot care.
When you go shopping, pay attention to numbers of items so that you have complete bags. With this cold temperatures, these blessing bags for cold weather are much needed. Please make as many as you can to help as many people as you can.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out these 10+ Homeless Care Package and Blessing Bag Ideas.