How to brighten someone’s day with just a couple words on a gift bag
By Sarah Smith
I’m here with Ashley, Kaitlyn, and Emily Berger, 14-year-old triplets who create gift bags every year around the holiday time to be delivered to food pantries and senior living centers around Long Island.
So, Ashley, how long have you been doing this and what got you into it?
Ashley: We have been doing this for two years. We are participating in the congressional award and one of its requirements is community service. We went online with the help of our dad to find out places near by that needed help obtaining products and materials that could be used by people in need. We had previous knowledge of our local food pantry where we donated bags of personal hygiene products to help the people there. We also found Paumanack Village, which is section 8 senior housing, and also donated to and helped the people there.
What exactly goes into making each of the bags and how long does it take?
Kaitlyn: The process incudes two trips to the store. For the first trip, we buy toiletries and other small necessities. For the second trip, we buy anything we ran out of the first time and some extra goods. We make about 100 bags, which are filled to the top and end up being the size of a basketball. We spend about four hours total assembling the bags and two hours buying the supplies.
Who makes and donates the bags to these particular places? What makes your bags unique?
Emily: We are the only ones who make these bags. They are unique because we write personal, holiday, or inspirational quotes on them to make it a more personal experience for them.
What impact do you think the personalization has on the recipients?
Ashley: The quotes on the bags really do mean something to them because its more personal and it shows that more effort was put into it. The people are very grateful, regardless of the words on the bags. The kind quotes are just another way to brighten someone’s day and go the extra mile to make them smile.
How does delivering them make you feel?
Emily: It makes me feel good because I know someone in need is really appreciating it. It makes it more fun and personal to hand-deliver them. We get to talk to them for a few minutes and learn about their lives and families. It means a lot to me to hear how much they appreciate the bags and the quotes on them.
What advice do you have for anyone who wants to get involved in charity work?
Kaitlyn: You should start out by researching areas in need near you. Contact them to ask what products they need more of. Kind of like what Ashley said, these small gestures mean the world to those in need.
Submitted by our members as well as teens across the world.