Homelessness is a worldwide issue where the roots run deep. In local communities across the globe, many individuals and families do not have a bed to sleep in at night, a roof over their heads throughout the days, or home-cooked meals to keep their bellies full. In the United States specifically, more than half a million people were considered homeless in 2016, according to a recent report.
With such a huge and devastating issue, how can we — as individuals — make a difference in the communities we live in? Charlotte Marie, a woman of faith with big dreams and an even bigger heart, spoke with Faith Family America writer Alex Olsen regarding her vision to change lives — and it starts with one little box.
Charlotte is the creator of Angel Bags — a unique organization that spreads love to homeless people through care packages. Each box ordered contains several Angel Bags (individual care packages) that include snacks, vitamin C, a comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, emergency drinking water, and more.
Some ramifications of homelessness seem obvious: no bed, no roof, no meals. Other ramifications are far less obvious, such as the little luxuries we take for granite: snacks, vitamins, art, hygiene products, etc. This is what Angel Bags has to offer the homeless communities.
The most heartwarming elements of the care packages are a hand-painted piece of angel wings created be women living in transitional homes and bracelets purchased from local artists in developing countries. Because of these elements, the impact of these care packages goes far beyond helping the homeless. The packaging is biodegradable (good for the environment), employment opportunities are created, and global economies are supported.
Charlotte’s faith and spirituality played a huge role in her starting Angel Bags. Growing up Catholic and being upset with the church following a series of tragic events and personal failures, Charlotte eventually “found her own way.”
“I personally have always just been someone who gives back, but honestly... I can’t say this is my idea,” she admitted. “This really has been given to me to handle and it’s a calling.”
“[The idea] came in spurts over the course of a year and it’s almost like I could hear God, hear angels speaking; I thought I was going crazy! But realizing what the product is now...just wow,” she said in amazement.
As many experience during their faith walk, it can be difficult to understand God’s plan and, as a result, stray away from Him. Charlotte experienced this herself, but seeing Angel Bags come together made her realize why certain events from her past played out the way they did.
“If I hadn’t learned about filmmaking, if I hadn’t done these workshops, if I hadn’t stepped away from God and found my way back, if I hadn’t done all of this stuff, I wouldn’t have gone down the path to be where I’m at and really embrace the journey,” she noted.
Charlotte also admitted that the reactions she gets from the homeless people receiving an Angel Bag aren’t always positive — some yell, some throw the care package back, but it’s about what’s in the giver’s heart that matters. However, other reactions are worth the risk of the gift — people respond with gratitude, some even sing with praise!
“If I give a gift, but it’s not received, that’s okay. If it’s a gift [that’s given completely out of love] and the intention was pure, it does not matter,” Charlotte stated. “It’s a growth opportunity.”
Ultimately, these tiny care packages have the power to make a difference in several people’s lives. The power of giving someone a gift filled with necessities and little luxuries, having a conversation with them, offering them a smile, is one way we can demonstrate kindness and love.
Charlotte has a huge vision for her growing company. Her goal is to have local communities be able to sustain themselves — gaining enough involvement from volunteers. But, it would be even more “amazing” if Angel Bags wasn’t needed anymore, Charlotte revealed.
“I hope Angel Bags goes out of businesses. I would love to say we don’t need this company; we don’t need any companies like it [to help the homeless] because it’s not necessary,” Charlotte added hopefully. “That would be amazing.”
For more information about Angel Bags, please watch the video below. If you are interested in purchasing Angel Bags for your local community, please visit the website here.