Blessing Bag Brigade aims to comfort the homeless

Brick Boy Scout troop 39 member, Ricky Pristas, helps sort supplies. Community outreach “Blessing Bags” being put together by members of the First Baptist Church of Laurelton and local Boy Scout Troops in Brick, NJ on 7/18/19. [DANIELLA HEMINGHAUS]

BRICK TOWNSHIP — First Baptist Church of Laurelton opened its doors recently to team up with an outreach that works in simple ways to bring comfort and hope to the homeless.

The Blessing Bag Brigade, a registered 501[c][3] nonprofit, enlists volunteers from the community to fill small bags with everyday necessities and members hand them out to homeless people in the local area and beyond. Last Thursday night, community organizations including the local Boy Scouts crowded into the church on Route 88  to fill 500 of the “blessing bags.”

The evening came together after church leader Patty Putkowski reached out to The Blessing Bag Brigade on Facebook. Pastor Santiago Norori said he thought the at-times chaotic looking scene in the church was a great showing from the community.

“I think it’s exciting. From the very beginning there’s a lot going on. We have the Boy Scouts, and they’re going to be helping us out around here. We also have the people from outside the community, anybody that just wants to get involved with a good cause,” he said on July 18.

“We’re trying to make an impact on people who are homeless. You don’t really see them, but there are a lot, especially in Ocean County. So we were trying to figure out how we could help as a church to really impact the community, even in such a small way. We thought what better way could we do that than through something like this.”

The bags include such necessities as toothbrushes and toothpaste, socks, soap and lotions, food and more. According to the man behind the Brigade, Kevin Garrison, the idea initially began as a charitable idea for the holiday season after encountering homelessness in New York. 

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