As we enter the holiday season and anticipate the time we will enjoy with our loved ones, the gifts we will exchange, and the meals we will savor, it is an equally important time to think of those who may not be so fortunate and how we might help through impactful giving. Nearly 2,500 people are facing homelessness in Albuquerque, almost double the amount from 2022, and that’s likely an undercount.
We know that helping others is critically important, but it can be challenging knowing how to do it. When we learned of these care bags, this impactful giving seemed like a great way to both spread and receive holiday cheer.
A group from ABQ Mom was privileged to attend an event for the New Mexico Dream Center. NM Dream Center is a non-profit with a “strategic approach to address human trafficking in New Mexico through prevention activities, outreach to victims, services for survivors, and a support system for clients in their self-determination.” Earlier this year, ABQ Mom adopted a room at NM Dream Center’s newest facility, a home for trafficking survivors. A team of talented designers from the ABQ Mom team decorated it and it turned out so beautiful.
After the event, we were directed to take bags of care supplies and give them to people in need. The bags were gallon-sized Ziploc bags, filled with hygiene items. They were simple. They contained items that we might have spares of in our cabinets–tissues, toothbrushes, toothpaste. But, to someone in need, the supplies could mean a lot. They could be a form of very impactful giving.
That experience moved us to share this way of giving. One way we might consider helping those experiencing homelessness in our community could be simply providing a bag with some essential items. We can keep a few of these bags in our cars and offer them when we have the opportunity.
Create Your Own Care Bags
If you’re inspired to make your own bags to share with those in need, here is a list of items you might consider placing in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag:
- Baby wipes
- Travel-sized soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant
- Toothbrushes and travel-sized toothpaste
- Band-Aids, cotton balls, Q-tips, and alcohol swabs (in a snack-size bag)
- Pads, tampons, and liners
- Winter items, such as socks, gloves, or hats
- Hand warmers
- Hand sanitizer
- Small items such as chapstick, mouthwash, dental floss, hair ties, and a comb
- Grocery store or fast-food gift cards
- Bottled water
- Soft snack food
In addition to the items listed above, ABQ Mom has prepared a pamphlet with several local resources for the unhoused. You can download the pamphlet here and print it to include in your bags.
When we give, we also receive.
Research suggests that when we can see the impact of our giving, we choose how we give, and we connect with someone through giving, we get a lot of joy. Giving a bag filled with everyday essentials for someone who may not have these items could make a real difference in their life. When we’re able to connect with someone in our community in this way, in a human way, we have the opportunity to reap benefits as well.
“As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way.” – Mary Anne Radmacher
The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.