Holiday Spirit: Kindness in a Bag


Story by Mary Clair Hashagan and Jay Cashwell, First United Methodist Church Cary

Cary, NC — A month ago, our lead pastor Reverend Dr. Carl Frazier asked members in the congregation to pick up an A.R.K. card–or three or five–and to be aware of serendipitous opportunities to do an Act of Random Kindness.

Since then, members have been recounting situations that prompted them to an Act of Kindness. Sometimes the acts don’t especially qualify as random–but in a way, maybe they do! Everything begins with an idea.

Kindness in a Bag

While Jay and I discussed putting blessing bags together prior to Rev. Carl’s sermon on Acts of Random Kindness, the forecast for earlier than normal cold weather kicked us into gear to get them done sooner than we’d planned. So we put them together one morning before going to work.

The idea for Blessings Bags is not new or original to us, but with homelessness increasing the need is ever present.

I was brought to tears while driving through downtown Raleigh last week. A young man, obviously homeless struggled to walk across the street; his feet were obviously in pain. He was not dressed for the cold wind that day–a sweatshirt and nylon shorts, no socks with his worn tennis shoes.

I had no warm clothes in my car, but did have some bottled water and packs of crackers. I stopped my car and ran to him. His eyes filled with tears when I gave him this small gift.

Rev. Carl had asked for us to share some of our random acts. I stopped by the church and purchased some Upper Room devotion books and got extra A.R.K. cards to place in the outside pocket of our Blessings Bags.

With the weather turning cold, Jay and I decided to go to downtown Raleigh and hand these out to those who are not able to gain access to the shelter. Many of the items I was able to purchase at the dollar store, including the canvas tote bags.

Here’s a list of items that we included in our bags:

  • wool caps with fleece linings
  • gloves
  • scarves
  • socks with cushion
  • hand & body lotion
  • moist wipes
  • hand sanitizer
  • chapstick
  • soap
  • band aids
  • washcloths
  • Q-tips
  • tooth brushes
  • packs of Kleenex
  • razors
  • loose change-quarters
  • bottles of water
  • juice
  • gum
  • crackers
  • fruit roll ups
  • peanuts
  • lollipops



Thanks to FUMCC for their continuing series of stories on human kindness and compassion in the community.