I have always had an internal struggle when it comes to reaching out to the homeless. I grew up in a suburban town in New Jersey and I didn’t encounter many homeless people there. When I moved to Southern California to attend college, that quickly changed. Southern California has one of the largest homeless populations in the country. It broke my heart that there are people who are hungry and don’t have a warm safe place to sleep at night. I wanted to help but I was warned by others not to give homeless people money–only food–because money might enable their addictions. But the few times I offered to buy them food, I was “told-off” by the would-be recipients. This created a fear in me of helping, so I did nothing. But in the last few years, I can tell God has been working on my heart and to mold me into someone different. A few months ago while my mom was visiting, we had a conversation about my past struggles to help the homeless. The next day while I was at work, she went to Costco and loaded up on socks, granola bars, water bottles and applesauce. The plan was to put together “blessing bags”. I was floored by her act of generosity and thoughtfulness. This gave me the courage I needed to start handing out, and eventually making, these bags on my own. I now keep these “blessing bags” handy in my car to offer up to anyone who may want them. Now, every recipient is so grateful. I’m no longer scared to approach the homeless. I now say hello, flash a smile, tell them that God loves them, and offer up a bag. I have been blessed with so much. This doesn’t cost a lot and it definitely spreads God’s love. I’m hoping to get more involved in programs that help the homeless, particularly our veterans.
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