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  • Writer's pictureCaia TAM

Packing & Giving gift bags

Updated: May 7, 2023

Packing and giving out gift bags

I have a great privilege. Something that not everyone has. A good home, and a good life. I thought the majority of people were like this too (when I was a lot younger, as in 3–4 years old). Because the schools I went to, the friends I made, and most of the people I approached were like this too. But soon enough, I realised that this wasn’t true. When I was young, I would go help my parents do things like give away lunch boxes, and help pack gift bags to be sent worldwide. At that point, I knew about low income families who we should help by giving resources, but recently, I found out a lot more.


My mom asked me to help her pack and give out gift bags, and I agreed. So many people came to take them, but for most, I didn’t know what they were going through. Most of them had decent clothes, some accessories (not like expensive necklaces or anything, more like hair clips, headbands, hats and other stuff) but they actually barely make enough money to get by.


That was one of the more recent times I just packed the bags. Then, my mom asked if I wanted to go help deliver them too. She told me that their houses were going to be small and cramped, which I had expected, but not to that level. Some of the houses I went to had a decent space. Quite a lot of space actually, some people had a living room, a kitchen, and occasionally a bedroom, but still, they were mostly elderly, and their kids left them money. But sadly, some kids (not really kids more like 40-year-olds, but they are the elderly people’s kids) had abandoned their parents, and left them alone. Some even had disabilities making it hard for them to get by, surviving off of what they had left.


Those surprisingly enough were the good cases. Some people had a similar amount of space, but had quite a few kids, meaning basically everyone had to share a room, and it just gets worse from there. Some people basically only have a tiny bed space, and they share a toilet, kitchen and some other facilities with numerous people. Some just enough space for a little table and a bunk bed, to suit up to 3–5 people. Sadly, it wasn’t exactly a few people. It was a lot. So many people were like this.


What really shocked me was how optimistic they were. Most of them had jobs, they would go down with friends to eat, and they would live life with what they had. In one instance, a family wrote “Don’t give up :)” on their wall, to get them through Covid-19. I worked with my mom’s co-workers, so most of the time, they were teaching me about what they do and how they get along. But they also taught me about how to treat them, and how to act like them. It taught me about the world around me and something else. Something else very important.

It made me realise a very important moral, don’t focus on what you don’t have, focus on what you do have.


After those experiences, I would try to be as grateful to people, remembering to say thanks, asking for less, or maybe just choosing the cheaper option when my parents would buy stuff. But more importantly, I would try to appreciate others for what they do. The small, little things. Holding open a door, letting me borrow a pencil, anything. Those things felt so much more significant than before, so I would try to do them as well.


From this I realised that, it doesn’t have to be about what you have and don’t have, it doesn’t have to be how small or significant it is. Sometimes, you just have to look at it the right way, and be happy with what you already have.





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