Ethos Kids: Packing Care Bags

Posted by Caity Shinnick on


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(Sign ups are full, but keep reading below if you still want to join us!)


If you are still interested in joining us on Wednesday, July 24th, we'd love for you to join us! Our organized sign up is full...but we still have a few items we need! Bring feminine hygiene products or individually packaged snacks (think softer granola bars, crackers, chips, raisins, applesauce, etc.) — questions? Email Caity at .

WHEN: Wednesday, July 24th from 1:30 to 3:30pm

WHERE: Ethos Offices, 2301 8th Avenue South

WHAT: Lemonade & cookies, a short time of learning about homelessness (brief & age appropriate!), and packing care bags! You'll get to take a couple bags with you to give out.

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OUR STORY

In our years in ministry, Will and I have gotten to know and become friends with a few individuals experiencing homelessness...we enjoyed conversations and a meal here and there, we looked for these faces on Sundays and during the week, too...sadly, we have lost touch with some of these friends that we truly loved.

As we grew our family, we found ourselves less engaged in these types of relationships — mostly out of the busyness and exhaustion of raising young kids...but also out of fear or a loss of words. I realized I didn't know how to answer Hattie's and Liam's questions...

Why is that person holding a sign?

What does his sign say?

Why does she look so dirty?

Why did they ask you for money?

And so on...

It became easier to look the other way, to ignore the people around me as we drove to church or got off the interstate, to not know what to say so I choose to say nothing at all. Maybe you can identify with me in some of this.

Then during Fast Forward in 2017, I felt the Lord prompt me to open my heart up and invite my kids into something with me. Will and I had started asking ourselves how we engage in serving our city with our young children. And this felt like a starting place.

I didn't know much, but I knew a little. And I shared that with them. I explained to the kids that there are some people who don't have a place to sleep at night, and so they live on the street or go from shelter to shelter. I shared about a few of my friends that I met in the early days of planting Ethos, about Charles who lived on the street but spoke kindly and told me funny stories...and about how Charles was there the night I was baptized and he was actually the last person I talked to before I went backstage to tell Will I wanted to be baptized!

So we gathered a few family members, pitched our idea, and planned to assemble care bags. The kids loved shopping for these bags. Grabbing boxes of granola bars, tons of toothbrushes, and of course, the Jolly Ranchers. Hattie and Liam loved packing the bags, going around and around our dining room table to pick up each item and put it in the bag. So far, it seemed like they were enjoying it!

And then Will and I got them in the car a week later, and we set off towards downtown. We quickly encountered a few men and women who identified as homeless...and we introduced ourselves, asked their names, asked them if they were interested in a care bag of practical items, and spoke kind words over them.

AND THAT WAS THE MOMENT. The moment I saw something new in my kids spark and come alive. They got it. They saw people around them, their small hearts grew bigger, and they saw real need around them. And they saw how they could help.

We have continued to give out care bags over the last couple years...rejoicing as we speak blessing over the men and women we meet, asking their names and telling them ours, recognizing that they, too, are children of God.

Of course, there are questions that I can't always answer. There are things that are a bit too big to explain (poverty, mental illness and its effects, drug use, etc.) — but I give them what they are ready for and trust that one day, we'll get to the bigger issues.

We just handed out our last care bag to gentleman named Dwayne. He was overjoyed when he saw there were new socks in the bag! As we drove away, Hattie exclaimed, "Mama, he said he needed new socks!!! And there were socks in that bag!!!!" I love seeing their hearts open up to the world around them and watching them recognize that we can love & serve others!

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Hattie and Liam decided it's time to make more care bags...and right away at that! When I asked them who they wanted to invite into this...they both agreed that it would be fun to invite their Ethos Kids friends! So here we are...throwing the invitation out to you, Ethos Kids families!!!

WHEN: Wednesday, July 24th from 1:30 to 3:30pm

WHERE: Ethos Offices, 2301 8th Avenue South

WHAT: Lemonade & cookies, a short time of learning about homelessness (brief & age appropriate!), and packing care bags! You'll get to take a couple bags with you to give out.

To sign up to join us and bring something to contribute to the care bags, CLICK HERE.

Questions? Email me (Caity) at


If you are still interested in joining us on Wednesday, July 24th, we'd love for you to join us! Our organized sign up is full...but we still have a few items we need! Bring feminine hygiene products or individually packaged snacks (think softer granola bars, crackers, chips, raisins, applesauce, etc.) — questions? Email Caity at  .

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