It’s amazing what can happen when one person decides to do good for the world, one Ziploc bag at a time. Like an infectious song or an uplifting comment from a stranger, it can ignite a chain reaction of selfless deeds that can positively affect the lives of so many people — in unimaginable ways. This reaction led to the genesis of a homegrown operation comprised of a small group of women, including our own, Chrissie Wootton. They have taken it upon themselves to provide for the less fortunate who are relying upon the Magnificat House for food, shelter, job and work counseling and spiritual guidance.
It all started with a phone call Chrissie received from her friend Julie, the ringleader of the group. “How was your trip?” Julie asked, “Did you get any freebies?” Julie was referring to soaps, shampoos and conditioners usually left behind at the hotel. Moved by Julie’s unwavering dedication to help the poor and homeless in their Houston community, Chrissie and her friends would eventually turn their monthly social gatherings into a full-fledged philanthropic event.
In addition to the toiletries, they would dig through their closets to find gently used work clothes for the shelter. Occasionally, one of the ladies would see something they liked, and the owner of the item would then ask, “How much is this worth to you?” This exchange would turn into a fun tradition that the group still keeps for the greater good. The seller uses the money to buy things like bottled water, first-aid kits and other necessities from the dollar store. Another gesture is to fill Ziploc bags as care packages, assembled by Julie and then delivered to Loaves & Fishes, a local shelter and soup kitchen run by Magnificat House.
Constantly motivated by their collective purpose, these women view freebies in a brand-new way. What was once a small, meaningless item, travel-sized shampoo or no-longer-worn clothing, has become an integral part of their mission. It is a simple way to transform the lives of people who are down on their luck and to provide hope, pride and cleanliness.
The next time you travel, before you leave your hotel room, throw those toiletries into your luggage and give them to a worthy charity in your area.