Blessing Bags: A Win-Win

Company Nurse Packaged and Distributed Blessing Bags During the 2015 Holiday Season

It’s common in every city to pull up to a stoplight and see someone standing there with a sign, asking for help. When you stop and think about it, most of us could end up in that scenario more easily and quickly than we’d like to admit. When this happens, do you ask yourself, “How can I help?” or do you hope the light turns green soon?

This situation often makes us feel uncomfortable and we may pretend to be on the phone, messing with the radio, or suddenly looking very closely in the mirror for something imaginary stuck in your eye — anything to avoid eye contact and that awkward moment of having to shake your head “no” with a regretful half-smile?  It can also be a moment of conflict — guilt over feeling apathetic or reluctance to just give money because a person appears to need it.

Company Nurse decided to make it very easy for their employees help the less fortunate by providing each person on staff with a “Blessing Bag”. Employees were to keep the bag in their car to give – instead of money –  to a person less fortunate than them. No stress; only good will.

Employees at Company Nurse packed over 100 gallon-sized Ziploc bags in November. Each was brimming with healthy snacks, personal care and first aid items, along with a warm hat, socks, a bottle of water and much more. The last component of each Blessing Bag was a personal note of support along with a list of shelters and food pantries in the area.

Packing and giving out Blessing Bags is not a new idea. It has been around for years and many people and entire churches are making them. It is easy, personal and compassionate. A win-win for you and the recipient!

Here is the challenge for us all. Practice compassion and mercy for those less fortunate – not only at the holidays – but every day. Let’s begin now!

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The following are personal stories submitted by Company Nurse team members about their experiences handing out the Blessing Bags.

“I have a very short drive to and from my office each day and never see people in need, so I dedicated one Sunday to searching for a person to be the recipient of my Blessing Bag. I love this idea and wanted so much to be able to share all the wonderful items and my goodwill with someone in need. A tip from a friend, who travels more than I, paid off.

I saw an older man with a walker that had a basket, standing on a street corner. I pulled into the adjacent gas station, parked my car and walked over to the man, Blessing Bag in hand. I said, ‘I have something I would like to give you.’ When he took the bag, his eyes brightened and he smiled, and said, ‘God bless you.’ As I got back in my car, I looked back at him and he gave me a smile and a wave. I thought to myself … God bless him.

Then, I ran to Home Depot in Scottsdale one Sunday. As I got out of my car a young woman approached. She said, ‘I’m sorry, but my family needs food.’ I told her, ‘I just happen to have something for you.’ I reached into my car, pulled out a Blessing Bag and handed it to her. She held it in her hands, turning it over and over, looking at all the items inside. She said, “thank you” several times – while continually staring at the bag – as if stunned that someone had prepared a gift for her besides money.”– Nadine

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“There is a homeless man whom I see frequently in Apache Junction. He is relatively young (late 30s) and obviously a veteran. He sleeps in the desert in the summer and in doorways when it’s cold. He gets harassed by the police whenever they see him and I have seen the police stop him just for walking down the street.

I was watching for him and I found him sitting on a sidewalk outside a grocery store. I stopped and called him over and he came up to my car. I said, ‘I have something I’d like to give you.’ When he saw what was in the bag, his face lit up. He couldn’t stop thanking me and he kept turning the bag around to see what was in it. He was so delighted and it was very heartwarming to see how much he appreciated those small gifts.” – Kathleen

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“I had all great responses in giving out the Blessing Bags. I cannot thank Paul and Company Nurse for doing this for us. 

I gave out many. Everyone was grateful and had kind words to say. It made me feel good as well as them. It is all about giving and helping others. It’s a trickling effect and it started with Paul. Thank you! Thank you for being who you are as a person. Thank you for helping me to give back.

Whenever I feel like I am over whelmed and life is just too hard. I take a drive down to the shelter and instantly, I’m filled with gratitude of what I have and my life, just the way it is.” – Denise