Arizona’s Heart & Sol: Tucson family puts together care bags for those in need

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 7:58 PM MST|Updated: Apr. 29, 2021 at 7:57 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A family is making it its mission to provide much-needed essentials to unsheltered people in southern Arizona, making them this week’s Arizona’s Heart and Sol recipient.

It all started with blessing bags from 7-year-old Finn Gardea.

“They’re for the homeless,” Finn said.

Finn said he first got the idea when his family drove past the park.

“He sees these people laying there and says ‘you know, mom that’s not fair,” said Finn’s mother Saadi Gardea-Gregg. “His first instinct is, what can I do to help them?”

The whole family came together to make Finn’s mission to help people without stable housing come true. They started ordering everything they thought would help make someone’s life a little easier.

“(It’s) stuff that helps us stay alive, so they can stay alive. It helps them,” Finn said.

Saadi said they put a lot of thought into what was going in the bags.

“Band-aids for when their feet are sore or they get cuts, the water bottles that are refillable so they can reuse them, the bright backpacks so they can keep track of them or reuse them, the snacks – just little things for them to have if they have nothing,” she said. “The towels and all they need to do is get them wet and they have soap. So it’s what’s convenient, what’s small enough to carry around, and what can probably be used multiple times.”

The mission didn’t stop there.

Saadi learned how to weave plastic shopping bags to make sleeping mats.

“What better way to put these bags to use?” she asked. “They’re going to end up in a landfill or on the side of the road anyway. So why not recycle them and change somebody’s life?”

The family spends several hours a day at Finn’s grandparents’ house putting the bags together and making the mats. Then they take the bags out to the parks to give to people who are homeless.

”We’re really hoping that this becomes a ministry that Finn will head up and as he gets older will grow and multiply because there’s a great need all over the nation, not just here,” Nikki Gardea-Evilsizor, Finn’s grandmother, said.

The family said the bags have inspired Finn’s little sister Presley.

She said she hopes to start “Presley’s Pizza Parties” and take pizza out to the parks to give to those who are unsheltered.

If you’d like to donate to Finn’s Blessing Bags, you can visit their GoFundMe drive.

Thank you to our sponsor Casino del Sol for making this possible.

If you have someone you think embodies the “Heart and Sol” of Tucson, you can nominate them HERE.

Copyright 2021 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.