Bags O' Love
A while back, we did a fun event in my branch on a Wednesday night. We put together snack packs for the homeless. These handy snacks-in-a-sack are great to keep in your car, backpack, or purse to give to those in need on the street.
Before we made the snack packs, we had a discussion about what it means to have charity. Sometimes it's hard to know what to do for the poor. Scripture is clear that we shouldn't allow the beggar to petition us in vain (Mosiah 4:16-26), but scripture also says to do things wisely and in order (Mosiah 4:27).
We discussed how when we give food, it sustains people for a little while, but when we give people the love of God, it's a lasting gift. Alma 32:42 says that when we taste the fruit from the tree of life, which is the love of God, "ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst." It's one thing to give someone a little snack, but it's even better when the snack comes with the love of God. So, in addition to including food in our snack packs, we included little notes of love and encouragement — the real "meat."
We made around 100 complete packs and another 30 to 40 partial packs, and everyone went home with around six bags. We spent around $150, so each bag cost just over $1.
Here's a little photo journal of how we did it.
First, we got the stuff at Costco. We bought mini bags of chips, granola bars, fruit snacks, Rice Krispies Treats, big tubs of almonds and peanuts, and mini water bottles.
We also got shipping labels, which we used to close the bags, and some colorful 4-by-6-inch cardstock to make the little notes.
We also needed brown paper bags, which were roomy enough to hold everything, and snack size resealable plastic bags for the peanuts and almonds.
We arranged all the stuff on various tables, and people went to the table with the activity they wanted to do.
Some wrote little notes.
Some decorated the labels.
Some wrote messages on the Rice Krispies Treats, which have a blank space on the packaging especially for notes.
Some bagged the nuts. We called them the "nutty ones."
Some actually filled the bags with food.
Some did quality control to make sure the bags weren't missing anything.
Here's one bag all filled up.
Then, we rolled them closed and stuck labels on them.
Here are some of the nice messages people wrote.
All done! What a great activity not only for ourselves but to show more of the love of God to those in need in our neighborhoods.
What went well
- We copied out a few scriptures ahead of time for the card writers to reference.
- We put the bulk of our people on card-writing duty because making up the bags went really quick.
- Bagging the nuts ourselves was a lot less expensive than buying them already packaged.
What we'll do different next time
- Make some kind of assembly line for the partially completed bags so they don't get mixed up with full ones.
- Buy labels that actually stick. Ours were wimpy and started to peel off.
- Maybe we'll do water bottles and warm socks next time.