It just so happened that the girls' Vacation Bible School missions project precisely coincided with my decision to clean out the pantry. For the last week I had been wondering why the pantry still seemed so full after our now 23 day financial fast. What I found surprised, no, astounded, me. As I carefully dug through every nook and cranny, I pulled out seven various sized shopping bags full of candy and small toys.
I realize that most moms manage to simply toss all the stuff that comes home with their kids after school parties, birthday parties and every candy involving holiday. Apparently, not me. I did, at least get it stashed on the top shelf and far reaching corners of the pantry, where I, (and hopefully the kids) would forget about it! So here I stood, with my kitchen counters cluttered with candy, realizing that this would be the perfect moment for a goody bag project.
Now, the idea of the re-crafted goody bag is not new. Anna first came up with this idea a couple of years ago when she created over 100 cellophane goody bags from her and her siblings Halloween candy. Halloween, then, became a hunt with a purpose. Since they weren't allowed to eat the entire giant plastic pumpkin full of candy, anyway, they, in effect, went Trick-or-Treating for charity. After all the trading and sorting that goes on after the Halloween collection is complete, the girls divided the candy into cellophane bags. I purchased individually wrapped cheese sandwich crackers to throw in for at least a minimal amount of nutrition. The girls tied the bags with colorful curly ribbon. I then drove the girls down to North Fulton Community Charities where they presented the sparkly, cellophane goody bags. They were a hit! I know this, not only from the encouraging comments from the director, but also from witnessing the workers pocket a few for themselves!
And who do you think the recipient of the VBS mission project was? You guessed it, North Fulton Community Charities.
From the excess in our pantry, the girls managed to fill 42 cellophane bags with candy, toys and cheese crackers. What amazed me was this. What I expected to hear from the girls were possessive cries of their long lost treasures. Instead, I saw Anna holding up a small Hello Kitty purse, saying, "Some girl is really going to LOVE this!" Then I watched Arielle putting together themed bags - a pirate bag, a boy bag, a teenager bag - carefully selecting each item and thinking of the potential receiver.
It made me think. Do you think creating Goody Bags could be a gift? I don't mean a gift, as in a present, I mean a real spiritual gift? So often we think of spiritual gifts as things that leaders in the church have. They sound righteous and important and holy. But, really, is there anything less holy in a child whose heart is reaching out to others? Could a spiritual gift come in something as small as a cellophane bag? I think the answer is YES!
"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord." (I Corinthians 12:4-5)Ours just happens to be the Gift of Goody Bags.
Bread, Milk, Cheerios, Bananas and Cheese Crackers: $21.28