December is the time of year that we gather with friends and loved ones and for a lot of us, that means a cookie exchange. Cookie exchanges are a fun way to show off your baking skills and is a great excuse to get together with friends and family before the holidays. But what if you could turn the friendly gathering into something more? Try swapping your cooking exchange for something that nourishes your soul and helps those in need.

The idea of Blessing Bags came to me from a friend and with so many people in need in our community, it was a no brainer. Blessing bags are essentially a bag of items that would help someone who needs a hand up. It can include anything from gloves, deodorant, granola bars, toothpaste, lip balm, socks, basically anything we may take for granted having on hand that someone might not have access to.

All you need is a gallon size baggie, an assortment of items to stuff and a group of people who want to help. Blessing Bags don’t have to cost a lot either! Most items can be found at discount stores, such as a dollar store, or you can even use those little hotel soaps and shampoos. If each person in your group commits to bringing one type of item, your bag would cost about the same as it would for all of your cookie ingredients combined.

Some ideas for your Blessing Bag stuffing:

  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste
  • Band-Aids
  • Lip Balm
  • Deodorant
  • Socks
  • Gloves
  • A few dollars
  • Non-perishable food items like granola bars or nuts
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Personal hygiene kit for women (may include sanitary napkins, tampons, etc.)
  • Comb or brush

A lot of us are hesitant to just give money to people we see on the street, but if you keep these Blessing Bags on hand in your car, it’s an easy, convenient way to help to those in need. Blessing Bags can also be given to homeless shelters or other organizations that help people get back on their feet.

The holiday season is a time for giving so just imagine how great you will feel once you have given something invaluable to someone who is truly in need.