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?


  1. I love the project. It seems that there are a lot of people trying to help out people in need. Unfortunately it seems that they often don't get the attention they need until the holiday season. Do you have a plan to continue being involved the rest of the year?

    Mr. C

  2. Minoo (Hannah's aunt)November 29, 2011 at 9:25 AM

    Dear Hannah,

    What a wonderful post about this wonderful charity organization! Thank you for sharing your experience and for giving information about the Green Bag Project.

    I am so happy to see that you and Leila are participating in such meaningful community projects. I hope that through your post more people become aware and donate to the Green Bag Project and other similar organizations that help the homeless. In these difficult economic times there are more homeless people than ever and it's very touching to see caring people such as Mr. Walton take initiative and do something about it.

    I am very proud of you and Leila for being such caring young ladies. I hope that you continue participating in this and other amazing community programs.

    What other community projects have you and your troop participated in or plan on participating in this year?

    Khaleh Minoo

  3. Dear Hannah,

    I really enjoyed reading your post about the Green Bag Project. I really admire Mr. Walton for creating this wonderful organization to help the homeless. Your mother told me that he has been able to distribute thousands of bags so far. This is proof that one person can make a huge difference in the lives of many with the help of caring people, such as yourself, of course.

    I would like to commend you and Leila for your participation in such a worthy endeavor.

    Keep up the good work.


  4. Hello Hannah,

    The Green Bag Project is a wonderful idea. Not only does it help you become more involved in the community, it helps those in need.

    I was impressed you were with the Girl Scouts. In Australia we call them Girl Guides.

    I was in the Scouts here in Australia. They are no longer called Boy Scouts as it is now possible for girls to join as well, although boys aren't allowed in the Girl Guides.

    From 7 to 18 I was in the Scouts. In later years, I use to run meetings and organise camps as we didn't have an adult leader.

    My highest level in the Scouts was the Queen Scout. That is a little like an Eagle Scout in USA. My Queen Scout badge was presented by the then Governor of New South Wales.

    We used to be involved in community activities, sometimes jointly with Girl Guides. Scouting is a great deal of fun but your already know that. :)

    Ross Mannell (teacher)
    NSW, Australia

  5. Dear Mr. C,

    Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment on my blog.

    I am very happy that you love the Green Bag Project, I do too!

    As a girl scout, we do a lot of community projects throughout the year. Right before the Green Bag Project, we collected and also purchased books to donate to children of migrant farm workers. These children have to move a lot so they don't have a permanent school and many of their families can't afford to buy them books. It felt really good to be able to help them.


  6. Dear Khaleh Minoo,

    Thank you for leaving me such a kind comment.

    I also hope that more people become aware of the Green Bag Project so that they receive more donations.

    As I mentioned to Mr. C, this year we donated books to children of migrant farm workers and we also plan on collecting gently used shoes to donate to Soles to Souls which is a charity that recycles shoes for people in need.


  7. Dear Bruce,

    It's so nice to hear from you. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving me a comment.

    I also admire Mr. Walton for creating the Green Bag Project. I am very happy that I was able to contribute by donating. I hope to donate more bags in the future. Every little bit helps, I think if more people help out our world would be a much nicer place.


  8. Dear Mr. Mannell,

    It is so nice to hear from you. I always enjoy your wonderful comments.

    Thank you for explaining the Australian scouting to me. I find it very interesting that the Boy Scouts are now accepting girls but the Girl Guides don't accept boys. Do you know why?

    I can see how you were a Scout and then a Scout leader for so many years. You seem to be very patient, kind and supportive. After all that is what the Scouts are all about.


  9. Hello again Hannah,

    Some time ago, some girls wanted to join the Boy Scouts. the felt the Boy Scouts were allowed to do more outdoor activities than the boys. They were told the Boy Scouts were for boys.

    The girls' parents decided their girls had been discriminated against and threatened to take the scouts to court.

    Because of the girl's request and possible legal action, it was decided Boy Scouts would become Scouts and girls wanting to join would be allowed as long as there was at least one woman leader.

    Girl Guides has remained for girls only because I don't think any boy felt strongly enough about joining them. My opinion? I think the girls should have been allowed to join as long as there is at least one woman leader.

    Here is a link to the Scouts Australia site if you are permitted to see it....

    You will see girls featured in the pictures.

    Ross Mannell (teacher)
    NSW, Australia

  10. ✿☮☼✿☮☼✿☮☼✿☮☼✿☮☼✿☮☼✿☮
    Dear Hannah,

    It is so wonderful that you help the poor. I am sure the people who received the bags are enjoying them.

    When I go to my tennis class, we always see a homeless man and my mom packs food and water in the for him.



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