Since the effort began, dozens of volunteers have distributed hundreds of bags, helping not only those who get them, but those who give them as well.
The positive energy generated through the program has sprouted related efforts, including a Krockpot Brigade that furnishes meals to the families of cancer patients, an organic garden that helps provide nutritious food, and a Kid's Club that puts together hand-made gifts to put in the bags.
Despite what's been accomplished so far, though, there's much more that can be done.
"There are still a lot of people who don't know we exist," Page said. "This little group of people has got to spread a lot further."
Last weekend, a two-pronged effort was launched to help make that happen. On Saturday, the group rolled out a multi-media presentation that will bring the Kaleidoscope message to community groups across far East County. Funded through a $9,000 grant from the national United Methodist Church, the moving presentation uses music, video and testimonials to get to the heart of what Kaleidoscope offers to those involved.
The goal is twofold, said Nancy Torres, who secured the grant and directs the church's music ministry. One is to reach people who could use some help, and the other is to draw in people who can help them.
"I think there are a lot of people like me out there," Torres said. "I don't want to go to meetings or be on the board, but I can certainly cook a meal or deliver a Bag of Hope."
Then, on Sunday, the church certified eight people as Stephen Ministers. Based in St. Louis, the Stephen Ministry trains and organizes members of the community to help others through crises of any kind. Each participant underwent 50 hours of training funded by a $5,000 donation to Kaleidoscope, and like Kaleidoscope itself, the program reaches beyond the walls of the church.
"The wonderful thing is that half of our ministers come from other churches, including the Catholic churches," Page said. Others are not members of any church.
"Stephen Ministers act as a caregiver to someone in need," said Pastor Dan Sturdivant during the certification ceremony. "They don't solve problems by telling you what to do or how to do it. They offer support and encouragement in complete confidence. These people are truly walking the talk of Christianity."
To arrange for a Kaleidoscope presentation for your group, contact Torres at 634-3417. To learn more about Stephen Ministries, call 634-1411. You can also visit the Kaleidoscope Web site at www.lifeschangingpatterns.org.