Meet Abby. She is one of the most incredible little people I have ever met. Most children cannot see past their tiny realm of existence, but not Abby. Abby’s grandma has breast cancer. But rather than be sad that her grandma is sick, she decided she wanted to do something to help. So Abby began making purple bags to give to all the people receiving chemo along side her grandma (her grandma’s favorite color is purple). The bags contain comfort items…a pack of gum, magazines, comfy socks…things to make their time during treatment a little brighter. And from this idea, Abby’s Purple Bag Project was born. Did I mention Abby is only six? But Abby’s plans didn’t stop there. She set a goal to have 1000 purple bags delivered to chemo patients around the country. She wanted the bags to be handed out in all 50 states. SIX YEARS OLD! So Abby got to work asking her friends, and her parents friends, and her church, and the audience of the Today Show to help make bags. And they did. And then word spread. And more bags were made. As bags were handed out in each state, Abby colored that state purple on a map. Slowly, the purple began to spread. And you know what? In April, Abby colored the last state on her map. There have been purple bags handed out in all 50 states. As of May, over 2400 bags have been delivered, and the project is still going strong.
If you are looking for a service project to do with your family, or with some friends, or through your church, or whatever, I encourage you to make a few purple bags to deliver to your local hospital or cancer treatment center. These bags will TRULY bless those who receive them. And the best part is that this is a service project created by a kid FOR kids. Even the youngest of children could participate in this project.
So what goes in a Purple Bag? Here is a list of ideas:
- Books/Magazines (gently used is ok)
- Activity/Puzzle books with writing implements
- Small lotion
- Small hand sanitizer
- Something warm (socks, hat, blanket) — When we made purple bags, I took the kids to Target and they picked out the most fun, whacky socks they could find!
Abby’s Purple Bag Project is such a tangible way for children to learn about serving others. They can participate in every stage of this project from shopping for supplies, to stuffing the bags, to delivering them to the hospital (**note: many hospitals won’t actually let you deliver the bags to patients, but you will be able to bring them to nurses who will distribute the bags to those receiving treatment). What a fantastic way to teach our kids to look beyond themselves and to love on someone who needs encouragement. Here is a sample message to include in your bag…but feel free to write your own notes or draw your own pictures. Do you already participate in a service project with your children? If so, please comment and share! And if you don’t participate in any service projects yet, I hope you will have the chance to make a few of Abby’s Purple Bags. If you’d like, follow Abby’s Purple Bags on Facebook.
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