Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Green Bag Project

The last project my Girl Scout troop (4th grade) and my sister's Girl Scout troop (3rd grade) participated in to help the community was  The Green Bag Project.

Mr. Walton with all the bags our troops donated
The Green Bag Project, which is an organization that helps the homeless, was founded by Duffy Walton about five years ago. It all started when he had gone to downtown Los Angeles to watch a show. When he saw a homeless person and decided to give him his running shoes (he is an avid runner),  his wife, who was with him, told him that he should do that more often. That's when he decided to start the Green Bag Project.

Here is a synopsis of The Green Bag Project in Mr. Walton's words:

I have a small community action grant from the Alcoa Corporation. In looking for a way to maximize the impact of my limited funds and broaden the awareness of the monumental problem of homelessness, I hit on the idea of the Green Bag. I supply the empty canvas bag and a list of suggestions. People then take the bag home and fill it with stuff usually found in your house - something to wear, something to eat, a way to get clean. This permits one to think about what being homeless means, what you would like in the bag if it was you, perhaps write a note of encouragement, even pick up a toothbrush at the market. I collect the bags and store them here at Alcoa,  Simi Valley  until I have 50/100. We then take them down to Skid Row and pass them out on or near  5th Street  to people living in cardboard. I say "we" take them because part of this program is taking people to skid row to see for themselves, actually hand out bags, talk to people, receive thanks from someone who really needs and appreciates a gift. That is what this program is: a way to bring a small gift to the least in our midst. And the bag is part of the gift.  A way to carry stuff that reminds them of people who care.  It is not just a bag of old t-shirts and canned goods: it's a bag of hope that says there are people who wish them well and hope they can climb out of poverty and despair.

Mr. Walton came to one of our meetings and talked to us about the need to help the homeless. Each girl was given 3-5 bags to take home to fill up and we met with him 2 weeks later to return the bags. We did this project right before Thanksgiving and it was our way to give thanks and give back.
Filling up the bags was a very rewarding experience for Leila and me. We went shopping with our mom to buy some of the items such as toiletries, food that is easy to open, small bottles of water, and first aid items. We went through our parents closets for some gently used clothing to donate. One of the moms in our troop generously donated all the dental hygiene items. I think the best part for me was writing the note of encouragement that we placed in every bag.
Mr. Walton's truck is filled with our donated bags

Bags being distributed on Los Angeles Skid Row

If you would like to find out more about The Green Bag Project you can contact Mr.Walton at or go on the New Basin Blues.


Have you ever heard of or donated to The Green Bag Project?

If not, have you heard of any similar programs?