The youth purchased items for the bags with their own money, acquiring enough supplies to make 30 Blessing Bags. They then challenged their congregation to match their donations and were pleasantly surprised with the outcome—with all supplies combined, the corps cadets put together a total of 110 Blessing Bags. Adding a personal touch, the youth created individual, hand-written notes for each bag, telling the recipients that they are loved and valued.
The Blessing Bags were distributed on two Saturdays in January and February. With temperatures as low as -28 C, the youth bundled up and took turns handing out the bags while another group warmed up in a chaperone’s vehicle.
As Erin Croome, youth and young adults co-ordinator, observes, the Blessing Bags initiative had an impact on both the youth and those who received the bags. “Our guests left feeling valued and loved because we met more than just their need for food,” she says. “And because they were directly involved with the distribution, the youth were able to see the impact first hand.”