Our Blessing Food Bags Outreach Program at Saint Miriam is an award-winning outreach to the homeless and food insecure in our area. Our program extends primarily to greater Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and suburbs, as well as Camden, New Jersey, Wilmington and Dover, Delaware areas.

Our food blessing bags are supported by grant donations and volunteer contributions and are filled with nutritious food and goodies, as well as personal care items and feminine hygiene products for female clients. We introduced these Blessing Food Bags in 2018 and the idea of having a ready bag prepared and ready to hand out to our homeless brothers and sisters was greeted with enthusiasm by the members of our parish. These bags provide a homeless person with enough food to sustain them for a few days, as well as personal care items, and allows us to help them. The bags also contains such items as granola bars, Vienna Sausages, Tuna and/or Chicken packages, water, juice, crackers, peanut butter, and cookies and personal care items, as well as a personal notes and hand-drawn messages from our children programming and those who packed the bags for distribution!

One of the most wonderful aspects of our program is that we ask those who volunteer to take the Blessing Food Bags into the streets to also engage with the receiving individual and bring their humanity to the surface. We invite them to accept the bags, not mandate, and try to visit with them and learn their journey as we support them in their life.

And, we have three additional tag-along bags for special needs and circumstances including females in need of feminine hygiene products and our “Pets with People Bags” for currently homeless persons with pets to care for, and for our transgender brothers and sisters, too! You can support our outreach program through:

Read More About Our Award-Winning Program

April 15, 2020 – Philadelphia Inquirer

April 9, 2020 – The Reporter

June 1, 2020 – Chestnut Hill Local

Help Us Help Others!

Thank you, in advance, for any support you can lend to our outreach programs! Together, we really do make a difference! Click on the button below and choose Outreach/Blessing Bags in the dropdown.



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Donations are Needed!

You may make a product/supply/food item donation, or drop off needed supplies to an outdoor collection container near the handicap entrance to our parish located at 654 Bethlehem Pike, Flourtown PA 19031. Donations are accepted anytime during daylight hours. You may also use this link to make a financial gift donation (fully deductible as a charitable donation) to enable us to continue to help others. Thank you, in advance, for any support you can lend to our outreach programs! Together, we really do make a difference!

Help us Shop with Amazon.smile!

On your first visit to AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com) you will simply need to select a charitable organization, like Saint Miriam, to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. They will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at smile.amazon.com will result in a donation to our parish and school! It really is that simple!


If you would like to donate items for our Blessing Bags, here’s what to shop for (or visit this link):

If you would like to ship these items directly to us, please send them to:

Saint Miriam Parish and Friary
654 Bethlehem Pike
Flourtown, PA 19031-1301

A Very Special Thank You to Our Partners!

https://www.berwynumc.org

https://charitycrossing.org

https://bombas.com

https://richardmullincoachbuilding.com/

And of course, we thank you for supporting us as well! We could not do it without you!

What Do We Put in the Bags?

Because not all needs are the same, we have different versions and additions to how we assemble our Blessing Bags:

Basic Blessing Bag:

  • Package of crackers (21 per pack)
  • Granola Bar
  • Napkin, fork, knife and spoon packets
  • Small container apple-sauce or fruit mix
  • Bumble bee Chicken Salad (small container)
  • Juice pack
  • Individual container of pudding
  • Small container of Vienna Sausages
  • Single package of cheddar cheese and pretzels/crackers
  • Cinnamon twirl cake (1 little serving)
  • Individually wrapped cookie
  • Packets of peanut butter
  • Water
  • Toothbrushes
  • Tooth Paste
  • Soap (mini bars)
  • Body lotion (small bottles)
  • Personal Care /Sanitization Wipes

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

– Albert Einstein


Car Safe at Saint Miriam

We opened our lower parking lot to help those people living within their cars by providing them a “Safe Car Space.” The program is simple: The car-resident registers at the Administration doors, complete a brief questionnaire to ensure our safety, and get a Blessing Bag and support services. They are able to stay overnight from 8pm – 7am as well as receive a referral to more permanent housing solutions! Registration occurs daily between 6:30pm and 7:00pm and no registrations can take place after 8:00pm.

We add to the Blessing Bag the following:

  • Blankets
  • Scarves
  • Socks

Just for Girls – Period:

In addition to our basic Blessing Bag we also add:

  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Feminine Personal Care Wipes

As You Transition

Over the last 5+ years, we’ve seen the menstrual and reproductive health space begin to shift with respect to trans & nonbinary inclusion. As a Franciscan Catholic Parish that welcomes and cares for everyone in need, we are so proud to be part of that change by adding our newest specialty bags to our Blessing Bag Outreach Program for those experiencing homelessness. Our newest specialty bags join alongside our “Just for Girls. Period.” by offering discreetly designed feminine hygiene products while simultaneously respecting the trans person. We feel more committed than ever to serving the needs of one of the largest growing segments of homelessness; those LGBTQ persons rejected by family and friends and forced to live on the streets. In very real and tangible ways that value, respect, and affirm the diversity of their experiences and identities, we continue to care. We listened, we heard, we acted and now, we love even more.


People with Pets:

Homelessness and hunger affects more than just people. Animals are God’s creatures as well and deserve our help as much as their human companions. In addition to the basic bag, we also add:

  • Dog Food (dry)
  • Cat Food (small cans wet, or dry)
  • Pet treats
  • Pet Toys
  • Leashes
  • Collars

We Couldn’t Do It Without Them!

Bernadette McGoldrick, Supply Chain Coordinator

Bern helps us keep our supplies up to date and overflowing so we can help many more! As Supply Chain Coordinator, her job is keep track of and to organize the supplies donated for the Blessing Bags. After discussing with both our Program Coordinator, and our Distribution Team, she helps to establish how many blessing food bags and hygiene bags we aim to distribute each week. This number may fluctuate with the needs of the homeless community as well as the amount of donations received. By determining a specific number of bags, we now know what is needed in donations to reach our goal. She, and several other volunteers meet each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings to assemble the bags for distribution. We are sincerely grateful to all our donors who enable us to help our sisters and brothers in need! To add you donations, or to volunteer stocking our shelves, please reach out to her at msag@atlanticbb.net

Barbara Sherf, Volunteer Coordinator

Writer and communications consultant Barbara Sherf is the Volunteer Coordinator for the Blessing Bags Outreach Program at Saint Miriam. Barb is charged with vetting potential volunteers, training them, scheduling volunteers and ensuring that their paperwork is in order. Barb also enjoys the simple task of making blessing bags with other volunteers. In her down time, she enjoys capturing the stories of elders in book form. She can be reached at Barb@CommunicationsPro.com

Tom Frey, Distribution Coordinator

Tom leads our team of volunteers that literally take the food to the streets! Tom has been featured on Fox, Times Herald and Philadelphia Inquirer He works a full-time job as a Master Plumber and is a valued parishioner at Saint Miriam, but his heart belongs to those on the streets. You will see his pop-up Blessing Bags all over the City! Contact Tom to help at info@mySaintMiriam.org.

Clifford McGoldrick, Volunteer

Cliff helps us in all areas of our program as a primary volunteer! From supply to moving items around to hitting the streets, Cliff is a wonderful volunteer and an be seen almost every day at Saint Miriam and helping those on the streets!

 


If you have questions, or would like to learn more about how you can help, please click here!