( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) Fill A Bag Travels State To State With Their Personal Care Bags
ENSPIRE Contributor: Abby Ladner
People who experience homelessness have been particularly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For members of this community, it is especially difficult to receive a COVID test, find personal protective equipment, or follow the recommended safety guidelines on top of securing access to food, water, shelter, and clothing. Now, the Fill A Bag Movement is working to change that.
The Fill A Bag Movement, founded by Shean Dawson, is helping shelters collect much-needed items for the homeless and unfortunate with their care packages. Fill A Bag is bringing essential items to shelters throughout the country and encouraging other communities to do the same.
Dawson’s mission to help the less fortunate started with her own difficulties at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When the pandemic started and my business came to a complete halt, I became frustrated, but a voice in my head said, ‘It’s not about you.’ I then heard the voice again when my husband and I were driving in Newark, New Jersey and we saw a young lady going through the trash. The voice said, ‘Be the help.’ So, right then and there, I knew I wasn’t going crazy, and that was God working and talking through me.”
After Dawson talked with her husband Marcus, the pair started the Fill A Bag Movement to bring personal care and hygiene products to shelters in their community. They have since delivered their bags to four shelters, including two in New Jersey, one in New York, and one in Pennsylvania, with more coming soon.
Each care bag contains essential items, like hats and gloves, socks, soap, toothbrushes, sanitary pads, face masks, and hand sanitizer. They also include food items, like cereal and granola bars and water. Dawson received many of the items as donations from community members that hear about her work or see posts on social media. Dawson also prints a special message of inspiration on the outside of the bags.
Because of Dawson and the Fill A Bag Movement, those in need are receiving essential care items they would not otherwise have access to. Dawson hopes her mission spreads so that she can take Fill A Bag to more and more areas, and people will be inspired to start their own programs in their community.
“It’s a beautiful feeling to be able to help others,” says Dawson. “I know we are all going through something in this day and time, but to be able to put your own struggles aside for just a moment to help someone else shows the true meaning of a humanitarian. We welcome everyone to join us in the Fill A Bag Movement or get inspired to launch your own charitable cause.”