Submitted by: Abby Koppen
When children and youth leaders of Coon Rapids United Methodist Church came across in the children’s Sunday school curriculum an idea to create “blessing bags” to distribute to people in the community who lacked basic necessities, they embraced it.
The idea is simple: Fill gallon-size Ziploc bags with a variety of items that would be useful for someone without consistent housing.
Children and youth gathered to fill bags with washcloths, soap, sanitizing wipes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, protein bars, lip balm, socks, and a variety of other things. They also wrote personal notes of encouragement to recipients, one of which went inside each bag.
“Through these bags, we were able to address homelessness in our community and Christ-focused compassion that leads to service,” said Youth Ministries Coordinator Abby Koppen.
Some bags went to a homeless shelter to be dispersed as needed, and others are in church members’ vehicles, ready to be handed out anytime they come across someone in need.
The Psalmist says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). The people of Coon Rapids UMC were eager to be that “present help.”
Through this activity, not only did the church’s children and youth help awareness of homelessness in the community; they also packed more bags than they imagined.
“Sixty-two people will be able to receive a little help, passed through us, from God,” said Koppen. “It worked for us, and it could work for you too.”
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church