Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Compassion Kits: Teaching Your Children Generosity

Our compassion kits

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
--Dalai Lama

Today we went to a meetup with our local AP mom's group (I have to say that I love that group and I really feel like we've found a group that feels like "home" for us). Today's event was the 2nd Annual Compassion Kit Playdate.  Each family brought 20-30 of an item (or two) for everyone to put in their bags. We contributed bar soap and Q-tips. Then, everything is lined up assembly line style and each family makes three bags. We actually had enough to stretch it out into five gallon size Ziploc bags. We are going to keep the bags in our car and when we see someone in need we can give them the bag.

Each bag is comprised of some (or all) of the following:
  • Scarves
  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Socks
  • Bar Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Dental Floss
  • Crackers
  • Single serve fruit
  • Hand warmers
  • Deoderant
  • Safety pins
  • Chapstick
  • Q-tips
  • Kleenex
I'm sure there's more I'm not thinking of. We also had some Hershey's chocolate bars at home so we popped those in the bags, too.

I'm so thankful that we had the opportunity to do this. It opened up a dialogue with Beanie about those who are less fortunate and how we can be compassionate & help. We talked about how some people don't have a home to live in or food to eat. It's been quite cool and rainy here the last couple days and Beanie said she wanted to give people her blanket and pillow. Isn't that awesome? I was so proud of her for coming up with that on her own. It confirms to me that we discussed the topic in an age-appropriate fashion and that she "gets it." Or at least "gets it" as much as a three-and-a-half year old can.

Things have been tight here financially lately. I had committed to doing this awhile back and really didn't want to back out. The truth is, for about eight bucks we got a pack of bar soap at Costco and we had the Q-tips at home already. It was so awesome making the bags after everyone pooled their donations together. We may be tackling our own financial issues, but we do have a roof over our heads, food to eat and the ability to pay our bills. We have so much to be thankful for. Our difficulties seem small when looking at the bigger picture. It's good to keep that in perspective.

I'm excited to put our kits in to action. While we've been talking about it the last two days I am quite interested to see Beanie's reaction (and the subsequent dialogue) when we do get to pass them out.

***I cannot take credit for this idea at all as it was the brain child of another mom in our mom's group, but I am so glad we were able to participate this year.***

Click here to read an update about how Beanie reacted to giving out the compassion kits.


  1. Love this - we invite the parent groups in our areas to come help "stock" the food bank. Usually the little kids help us make bags for the people that visit. It is a great experience and opens their eyes to people's situations AND what they can do about it.

  2. That's so cool! When I volunteered at the United Way community outreach day it was amazing. Just to be able to help so many people made me feel good. After getting my promotion money is still tight, but this is also the first year that I'm having money taken out of my paycheck to go to United Way. Before I was barely scraping by but now I figure $15 a paycheck is something I can afford :)

  3. What an awesome idea to do as a group! I will have to figure out a way to work this into our holiday preparations. Thank you for sharing :)

  4. Wonderful! I've done this before and have to offer one warning: don't put anything scented (such as bar soap)in the bags or all of the edible items will be ruined as they pick up the scent.

  5. Oh, I just love this idea! I think I may have to borrow it. What a wonderful way to practice and teach your children compassion. I also love the idea of getting together with other families and pooling your resources to make enough of these. Thanks for sharing this!

  6. What a great idea! I am always looking for new ideas on how to teach compassion and generosity. I would be interested to see how it goes when you have the opportunity to give them out!


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