Life on the streets is rough...
Love Bags Help
Coming home from the grocery store, we see people with cardboard signs asking for help...
...Most people just drive on past but Jesus calls us to see them and their need...
...They are our neighbors. How can we be neighbors to them???
We can give cash--but we don't always have cash. How can we make their lives a little bit better?
North Avenue Mission in Baltimore gave us a list of items of particular use to those who are unhoused and/or working in street economies. Their congregation contains a mix of housed, formerly unhoused, food and housing insecure, and unhoused members who are doing great things. TLGBQ+, nonbinary, and straight, they walk together advocating for justice and dignity and care for our community. They are making sure folks are clothed, fed, and loved, reducing harm, and healing. They are a ministry of the Delaware-Maryland Synod of the ELCA.
What is a Love Bag?
A love bag is a bag containing items to make life a little better. It is tailored to the needs of those working out on the streets all day and sometimes all night.
How do I make a Love Bag?
Be creative! We recommend using a 1 gallon Ziploc bag. You can also use tote bags or small backpacks. Everything should be individually wrapped and individual sized.
Here are some suggested items! Not every bag has to contain everything on this list the items on this list have been noted as very useful.
dried fruit (raisins)
granola bars/breakfast bars
pull top canned food
plastic forks and spoons for food items
body wash, bar soap, shampoo and conditioner (there are often places to wash but shampoo may not always be available)
small laundry detergent
insect repellent (think about camping)
sunscreen (many are out all day)
band-aids (being able to treat wounds is critical--life on the streets is rough and donating plasma can be crucial for those living on the edge. You can't donate plasma if you have evidence of infection.)
lip protection (chap stick)
transit route maps local to the area you are giving out the bags
menstrual products (don't worry about giving a bag to someone of a gender that wouldn't need them--the products will get where they are needed. Street community is real community). Pads and tampons are preferred (cups are more tricky with minimal access to water/boiling water to keep it clean).
We plan to start a collection of these items at ASLC in January and February as part of a Christian Education series. We will then gather together to assemble the bags. However, we do not want to slow anyone down and want to enable everyone to show some love--whether you are on your own or just want to get a jump on this for the holidays. Stay tuned for more information!
More informational resources on poverty and homelessness in the United States:
Red Shed Village
Center for Social Innovation study investigating the causes of and racial distribution of poverty and homelessness