Just Throw It In The Bag

Saturday, I witnessed one of the most touching moments I’d seen in a very long time. There we all were: a crowd of maybe two dozen, standing outside of Urban Grind on an amazingly beautiful Saturday morning, surrounded by red bags full of donated items. Cameras are clicking away, everyone is excited and eager to go out and do some good, my chai latte is comforting and sweet. So humble and cute-as-a-button, Lauren stands behind the table to address her volunteers. She takes a deep breath, obviously trying not to cry, and manages to get out “Thank you….so much.” I don’t really even know Lauren, but I felt such pride for her in that moment because the vision was coming to fruition and the moment was finally here for The Red Bag Project.

It’s kinda cool to witness something from the beginning and that’s just what was happening. This past weekend, I was DoinGoodinmyHood at The Red Bag Project’s very first Event Day. The Red Bag Project is a movement about giving; “Giving love, gratitude, hope and physical presence through “in-kind” donations to those in need.” They’d spent a few weeks collecting donations (at dropoff locations like Urban Grind or at Red Bag events – a potluck in San Fran, a game night and a poetry slam here in the A) to fulfill the wishlists of a few local organizations. Then on Saturday, we all got together to celebrate and deliver the goods.

After getting out a few well-deserved thank yous, we all split up into groups and either walked or drove to our delivery destinations. What I think is amazing and unique about what The Red Bag Project is trying to do is that it’s not just you passively dropping off a can of green beans, tossing the deuces, and going about your business. It looks like ultimately their goal is to give those who come out on distribution day an enhanced giving experience by interacting with those who will benefit from whatever donations are raised. My group piled in a Tahoe and drove off towards Atlanta Children’s Shelter with Fabolous’ newest single “Throw It In The Bag” blaring on the radio. I love it when the music fits the moment.

Although we did not get to tour the shelter or meet any kids (some of the other groups did get to tour the facilities they delivered to), we did get a chance to discuss the purpose and function of Atlanta Childrens Shelter for a few minutes as a group after we got our parade of red bags into the building. One of our group members happened to be a wealth of knowledge from her previous experience partnering for work with Atlanta Children’s Shelter so we learned a little from her. I even got tipped off about an upcoming opportunity for some DoinGood in the near future that I can’t wait to sign up for. I couldn’t believe I’d been passing this shelter by for years not even knowing it was there, just beyond the corner of Peachstreet St and North Ave!

Afterwards, everyone regrouped at Urban Grind then a few of us stragglers walked down the street to 5 Seasons for lunch. I didn’t get to stay long but I did get to look at the pics from the group that went to Atlanta Humane Society down the street. I’m a sucker for a picture of a puppy and a bunny (shout out to Casanova!).

Overall, it was a good experience with plenty of great people involved. I’m very hopeful for them as they try to build this program up into a fruitful experience for both the receiving organizations and the donors/volunteers. I was actually thinking while we were toting the bags into the shelter about how this could potentially be a great corporate volunteerism initiative for businesses around Atlanta that want to provide a meaningful giving experience for their employees, especially if they’re able to do this during the week for an organization like the children’s shelter. The Reg Bag Project also held a similar event up in the DC area to benefit Carpenter’s Shelter in Alexandria, which I thought was cool given that my family lives in the DC area and I’ve been so homesick lately. I was just so touched with this experience because Lauren’s tears as the Event Day got going let me know that the whole purpose of this organization and this event was coming from the most genuine of places – the heart. Over 150 bags of love given. Kudos to everyone involved; I can’t wait to do it again soon!

Keep up with The Red Bag Project’s next moves at their website or on their Facebook page.

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