Good Works: Rag Bags | VideoAlan Miller | 1/18/2013
Not just those who are homeless, but also her own, and those who have joined the cause. It`s proof that doing good works.
Sarah Miller doesn`t like calling too much attention to herself. She started a business called Rag Bags that sells shoulder bags, t-shirts and other items online. But it`s why she did it that`s the real story.
"And I would just see people standing on the street with signs, and I just wanted to help them. And I didn`t have anything in my car to give, so I would try to rush home quick. I lived in an apartment building, so we had like a pop machine. So I`d try to get something for them to drink and make a sandwich and then rush back. And they`d be gone and I`d be so sad. And so I just really began praying and brainstorming about things I could do. And one night I just couldn`t sleep and I guess I just had this idea of putting kits together and keeping them in my car and giving them out. And that`s kind of how it started."
With a few years of experience, the kits she puts together for the homeless now have something for a person`s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being. When she started out, she threw together what she could, and since she was a college student, she ran out of money very quickly. That`s when she came up with the idea to use her sewing skills and make things that she could sell and then use the money to put more kits together. A conversation with her pastor seemed to get the ball rolling.
"Well, you don`t have people, you don`t have a room, you don`t have money, you don`t have machines, like, let`s set this out. But then that Sunday, the owners of J&R Vacuum and Sewing said that they would like to donate $4,000 worth of sewing machines to us. So we brought the sewing class out of that. And it`s been a lot of fun."
Those sewing classes have attracted many more people who wanted to do something to help. Now they all pitch in every week. Sales and donations have allowed Sarah to stockpile homeless kits, which are now delivered in bulk to shelters and soup kitchens. And of course, she`ll always have one in the car, just in case she comes across someone who needs help.
You can find the Rag Bags products online at etsy.com, then in the search bar, type "rag bags new song."
There are many other people in our community that quietly go about helping others. We plan to make Good Works a weekly Friday feature. If you know of someone who deserves recognition for doing good, let me know by email, phone or Facebook.