How to Make a Bodhi Bag

Bodhi bags are gallon ziplock bags that sangha members can create to give food and essentials to those in need living on the street and experiencing homelessness. The following list are recommended items that you can include in your bodhi bag.


Remember those who are experiencing homelessness may not have access to can openers and heat sources to prepare food. Food items need to be easy to open and can be eaten without the need to cook.

  • Water bottle
  • Beef jerky
  • Tuna salad and cracker packs
  • Peanut butter cracker packs
  • Breakfast/protein bars (watch out for melty chocolate)
  • Raisins, craisins, other dried fruit
  • Mints or other candies

Personal Hygiene

  • Nail clippers
  • Bandages (large ones, especially useful for blisters)
  • Comb and/or brush
  • Hand lotion
  • Lip balm
  • Face towels
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Wet wipes
  • Maxi pads
  • Chewable multivitamins
  • Tissues

Clothing & Accessories

  • Socks
  • Gloves

Tips for giving Bodhi Bags

  • Try to keep the bags small. Not everyone can carry around a lot of stuff, so aim for fewer but better items that can fit into a gallon sized ziplock bag.
  • Write a personal note. Write – in your own handwriting – a card that says their welfare is important to you, that they are loved and that they are valued, etc.
  • Include a list of resources. Addresses for the local rescue missions, men’s shelter, women’s shelter, places they can get meals, shelter, and showers, where they can receive emergency medical services, and more. Contact the Greater Kansas City Coalition to End Homelessness and ask them, as they will be an invaluable resource with a hands-on knowledge of the needs of the homeless in our area, plus what resources are available.
  • Take your time. Pull the car over and get out and talk if you can. Ask their name, their story. A hand-delivered care package, a few minutes of conversation, a smile, genuine eye contact, all this can go a long ways towards showing someone that they are important, valued, and loved.
  • Be safe. Most homeless men and women are not dangerous. They are people just like anyone else. Still, it is wise to be in a group when handing out care packages, especially if you are going to stop and get out.