Local Women Pay It Forward To Homeless

Snacks, toothbrushes and women sanitary products among items in 'blessing bags'

ROCKFORD - Two Stateline women are teaming up to help make the lives of homeless people a little less difficult. They're creating bags of essentials, called blessing bags, to bring those without homes some sense of normalcy.


Snacks, toothbrushes, and women's sanitary products are just some of things going inside a 'blessing bag'. The bags, made differently for men and women, are for those who have little else, the homeless.


Sierra Baines and Katie LoVette began asking for donations for the bags via social media several months ago. It has now become a special project called Monthly Bank. It's a cause close to both womens' hearts.


"I lived in domestic violence shelter for about a month before they helped me get on my feet,” said RCL Monthly Bank admin Katie LoVette. “[They] put me into a home, they helped me get a job. They helped [in] everything for me to sustain life for me and my children."


Sunday afternoon the women hosted a bag-building event, to let community members help put the bags together. They hope letting others get involved will create a domino affect.


"As we go to put together the bags, we also help people feel like they're accomplishing and doing a good thing as well," said LoVette.


"When you get one person involved in the community it's more of a chain reaction,” said RCL Monthly Bank admin Sierra Baines. “So, the more people you get to help, the more people they're going to get to help. It's like a pay it forward kind of thing."


The women say they plan on visiting the Rockford Rescue Mission and Remedies, among others, to hand out the bags to those who need them. They say it's important to shine a light of hope on those in need.


"Everybody thinks 'Oh you just didn't work hard enough, it's your fault that your homeless,'” said Baines. “It's not always that way, that's not always how it happens. And we don't want people to feel that way; we want people to think 'Hey, you are cared about.' We're here to help you."


"They also have the encouragement that there are people out there who think about them and want to help," said LoVette.


 Anyone interested in donating items for future bag builds can visit their Facebook page, RCL Monthly Bank.

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