Every child who receives one of our Blessing bags leaves the shelter with a book to encourage reading and family bonding, a cuddly blanket, and items specific to the needs of their age group – from stuffed animals to puzzle books and personal care items. Your business or organization can purchase Blessings Bags for $2 per bag (to cover costs) and then enjoy the fulfilling and rewarding experience of shopping for items to fill the bags. When they are filled, the bags are returned to the Ruth Lilly Women and Children’s Center, where they are ready to comfort the next child in distress who comes through our door. Learn more about how you can be a part of this meaningful ministry by clicking on the menu options below.
Blessing Bags Step By Step Instructions
Decide how many Blessings Bags you would like to purchase and fill. Each bag costs $2, so your initial investment is $2 x #bags. Since the bags will be filled with new items that you’re responsible for purchasing, keep those costs in mind before you commit to a certain number of Blessings Bags.
Contact The Salvation Army and make arrangements to pick up your bags at either the Ruth Lilly Women and Children’s Center (540 N. Alabama St, Indianapolis) or The Salvation Army Indiana Divisional Headquarters (3100 N. Meridian St, Indianapolis). Pam Fleck, Director of the Women & Children’s Center, can be reached at [email protected]. Be sure to include in the subject line of your email “Blessing Bags.”
Drop off payment and pick up your Blessing Bags at the Women & Children’s Center or Divisional Headquarters.
Print off shopping lists for the age group(s) for which you are shopping.
Go shopping! This can be a fun group outing or you can “send out the troops” with special shopping assignments and then meet up for a Blessing Bags stuffing party.
Assemble your bags with special attention to gender and age group. Make sure that the books are age-appropriate, diaper size matches sleeper size, etc.
Return Blessing Bags to the location where you picked them up. Just let us know ahead of time when and where you’ll be so that we can thank you personally for your wonderful donations!
At the Ruth Lilly Women and Children’s Center we have children of all ages come through our doors. From infants only a few weeks old to teenagers, they each need something special of their own to help them get through a difficult time. Just click on the link below to download and print shopping lists for Baby Blessing Bags (newborn – 2 year old), Youth Blessing Bags (3 – 12 years old) and Teen Blessing Bags (13+ years old).
Want to share information about Blessing Bags with your co-workers, club members or family? Looking to promote this program on social media? Just click on the thumbnails below to open and download a printable info sheet, Blessing Bags shopping lists, and the Blessing Bags logo.
Blessing Bags FAQ
Where can I pick up the bags? Bags are available at The Salvation Army Indiana Division Headquarters, located at 3100 N. Meridian Street, or at the Ruth Lilly Women and Children’s Center at 540 N. Alabama Street.
Why do I pay for the totes? Each Blessings Bag costs $2.00, which covers the costs already incurred by The Salvation Army. The bags stay with the children after they have left our shelter for their continued use and as a reminder of the many blessings they received during a very difficult time in their lives.
Do you accept used blankets, toys or books? We ask that all items in the Blessing Bags be new. Many of the children are accustomed to hand-me-downs, but the Blessings Bags offer children their very own comfort items, brand new and purchased especially for them.
Do you accept handmade items? Yes! Getting together to make fleece blankets or pillow pals is a fun way to bring together your co-workers or friends and add a personal touch to these special bags.
Can we include other items in our Blessing Bags? Absolutely! If you’ve checked off everything on the provided shopping lists and find something extra that works with the age/gender of the child who will receive the Blessings Bag, throwing in a little something special is welcomed. (Click below for a list of items that cannot be included.)
What cannot go in the Blessing Bags? Please do not include used items, food or drinks, toys that look like weapons, or tiny stuffed animals that are too small for snuggling at night. If you are unsure whether an item is right, just send Pam Fleck an email at [email protected].
Do you have any preferred vendors for product purchases? There are plenty of great deals to be found, especially if you are buying in bulk. Big box stores and wholesale clubs often have great deals on children’s books, stuffed animals, socks, baby wipes, diapers, etc. The Kohl’s Cares for Kids line of stuffed animals and books are a great deal at only $5.00 apiece and let you pair a cuddly plush with a book that features the same character.
How big are the Blessing Bags? The totes are 15″ high, 13″ wide and 10″ deep. They are flat-bottomed and sturdy enough to continue on with a child once their family leaves our shelter.
How big should the stuffed animals and blankets be? Stuffed animals should be “snuggle sized.” They should be larger than beanie animals, but no bigger than 18 inches. Blanket/throw size depends on the age of the child for whom you are shopping. Suggested sizes are listed on the shopping lists that can be downloaded from this page.
Are there other ways that I can help? Always! Visit the Women & Children’s Center‘s page to see our “Wish List” of items that are needed the most. With over 2,000 women, children and infants staying in our shelter every year, the need is great for toiletries, diapers, bedding and many other items that most of us take for granted. We also welcome volunteers and invite donors to take a Tour of Hope and see our facilities firsthand. Info about other opportunities, like the new Building Blocks of Hope room sponsorship program, is available. Contact Pam Fleck at [email protected] for details.