Hello, Welcome to

Blessing Bags

Helping People Grow... Within the Local Community... One Bag at a time... #HelpingPeopleGrow Homeleness Those in poverty Faith Based Supported by YOU

Hello and

Welcome to Blessing Bags

Joshua Gabrielson | Director and Founder

The Blessing Bag Program is a local 501c3 non-profit that provides bags filled with hygiene and related items to our areas homeless and needy. Currently, we have thousands that are homeless and living in extreme poverty in the United States. The program started in 2016 as a grass roots campaign and has become a project of mine, ongoing. 100% of everything goes back into the program and no one on staff takes a salary. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and helping our cause!

What We Do

Homeless

We want to be able to connect with homeless and help succeed with being able to help them each month.

Senior Citizens

Many seniors simply can't get the items they need to function. Part of our mission is to help them by providing bags.

Those In Need

We also have several people that are simply in need because of job loss, financial circumstances, family issues and the like too.

We Collect Items

We have a collection drive the first of each week and ask our community and corporate leaders to help donate small items in need.

We Collect Donations

We also collect funding both great and small in order to help cover our expenses. Our goal is to eventually raise $20,000 annually if possible.

100% Volunteer

Unlike many non-profits, our's IS different. 100% of what is donated stays in the program and everyone is a volunteer that helps.

564,708

Homeless in America

19.4

Million in Poverty

2.59

Costs to Make a Bag

8,700

Items Donated This Year

In the News

Helping the Homeless


Helping Others Grow....

Our mission statement, yup that's it.

It's NOT a big one nor is it backed by millions of dollars like some of these other large, almost corporate like organizations that are charities.

What we do at Blessing Bags is extremely important and one of the things that we do here is work with those that are homeless and WANT to get back into society.

I say WANT because sadly there are those that want others to just do everything for them, provide them with food, a place to stay and just take care of them. But it's not everyone...

Throughout the year we meet with many people that are just trying ti squeak by, many living under pay check to pay check like most American's.

We help by giving them a small bag filled with hope.

It's not big, a typical quart sized plastic bag. We fill it with items they can actually use. Some typical items you will find include toothpaste, a toothbrush, a comb, razor, shampoo, lotion, lip lamb, deodorant, feminine products for women. We have more that goes into each bag but that is typical.

Why do we put those types of items and not food?

Well, most communities in the United States have a rescue mission of some type. They provide food, sometimes shelter and programs that help get them back onto their feet.

What we do is help supplement those that are trying to get back to normal.

I want you to think for a minute...

When you take a shower, you have a bar of soap. You have shampoo. What if you didn't have any? What if you had a job interview and you needed to be at your best in hopes of getting that job?

Something as simple as being clean and smelling good could make or break a homeless person.

Even if they weren't on a job interview, just feeling human again can make a world of difference.

I see it most days. Homeless people wondering the streets, some looking to panhandling, some looking for a fix for a habit they have, some, they just want to live again. They want to work, they want a place to live, a life.

We provide that extra, bump to help.

The National Coalition for the Homeless says that nearly 3.5 million families, with 1.35 million of them being children, experience homelessness during a typical year on average for about 69 days.

During a typical given day there are about 500,000 homeless in the United States. While that number is low, it's still something that needs to be addressed within out cities, our towns and communities.

While our program is still growing, we are slowly helping them, one bag at the time.

Learn the various ways that you can help get the word out and to support our program in your community!


Turn Your End of Year Charitable Contributions Into Tax Savings



As the year comes to a close, many of you will be making a donation to various programs like our Christmas4Kids program, our Blessing Bag Program or to another nonprofit.

Roughly 74% of American's will be making some sort of financial donation during the month of December and rightfully so. When you make a financial donation before December 31st, it will be tax deductible for the upcoming tax season!

The great thing about making a donation to our public charity is that it's a win-win-win for you and for us too!

You WIN because you get to deduct some on your tax bill, even make your refund LARGER in many cases!

We WIN because we get the continued funding to keep Blessing Bags a great growing non-profit here in the USA.

And Those In Need WIN too because our funding allows us to help others in need that otherwise need it. Many of the people we supply bags with are trying to get back into a normal way of life and many struggle because of a job loss, health issues or aliments and just trying to get through a month with the basics.



YOUR Charitable Contributions here at the Blessing Bag Program are very much needed!!

100% of your donated funds go to the following:

  • Creation of Blessing Bags (it cost us $2.59 to make a full bag)
  • Shipping costs of Blessing Bags across the nation to other organizations that hand them out
  • Our Postcards and Letters
  • Our annual budget 

Saving on your taxes is NOT just for people either, businesses can also take advantage of tax savings before the years end too and many do!

"Helping People Grow... our motto is simple. We want to help people grow by providing a valuable resource to those in the community that not only need it, but are trying to get back into society in a normal level." - Joshua Gabrielson | Director | Blessing Bag Program
Make a Donation before December 31st

Donate here ---> Secure Donation Portal 
(100% of money donated in our portal page goes to us) 



States We Currently Service!



Amazon and Blessing Bags


We are SO happy to announce that Blessing Bags is now part of the Amazon Smile program!

What is Amazon Smile you might ask? When you sign up for this program and use Smile.Amazon.com rather than just Amazon.com, they will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible Amazon Smile purchases to the Blessing Bag Program!

Learn more by clicking the banner below and sign up!







Non Profit Organizations Roanoke VA

As the director for the Blessing Bag Program, I have a tough job at times. Let's face it, when people hear the word charity or non-profit here in Roanoke, they think of poor, homeless people or organizations that are trying to raise money.

And yes, funding is a huge part of any non-profit, without community support from people and businesses, we can't operate.

Let me tell you, running the BBP part-time is a HARD job, much harder than when I was a business owner. I'm the director, the janitor, the guy that mainly puts bags together, meeting with people, raising funds and working with others to pass out bags too. I wear many hats here at this small organization, but I'm happy knowing that what we do makes a difference in the community!

The sad thing is I often have to turn people away because we have limited funding for our bags, we're just not big enough... yet. Having to tell someone to come back next month or to try and explain to them that we don't have enough funding for them to have a bag just yet can be very hard for me emotionally.

I have run into this time and time again with the Christmas4Kids Program, having to tell a parent who lives in poverty that they might not get anything for their kids for Christmas is difficult.

I do sort of take it personally, I mean someone is coming to you and asking for help and with what I do, you want to try and help everyone, trouble is, you can't. I will tell you however, that when you're looking to help support a charity or non-profit here in the area, there are a few things that you want to look for before you support them.

Keys to a Good Non Profit

501(c)3

In order for a non-profit to become, well, non profit, you have to be a 501(c)3. What is that? Being "501(c)(3)" means that a particular nonprofit organization has been approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt, charitable organization.

"Charitable" is broadly defined as being established for purposes that are religious, educational, charitable, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering of national or international amateur sports, or prevention of cruelty to animals and children.

TRUST me when I say starting a non-profit is NOT cheap. I think I spent about $1,000+ just to get the legal junk out of the way, not to mention the MOUNTAIN of paperwork involved too.


The Blessing Bag Program is a registered 501(c)3 non profit organization. 

GuideStar

If you want to check and see if an organization is a legit non profit, you can! Luckily, there is a watchdog out there for charitable organizations such as ourselves called GuideStar. This foundation provides you basic information about the organization and verifies with the IRS that they are real and legit. If you want to check out our information, you can click here.

The Tax Benefit

Yup, when you donate to a charity, you can get a tax write-off for the next federal tax season. Americans have used charitable donations to lower their taxable income since World War I, when the federal government introduced the charitable tax deduction. Nearly 27% of filers take advantage of this tax break, according to a preliminary analysis of 2010 tax returns by the Internal Revenue Service.

NOT all nonprofit organizations qualify as beneficiaries for tax-lowering gifts, nor do all gifts to eligible charities qualify. Knowing what you can and can't claim helps you maximize the potential tax savings that the charitable tax deduction offers.

We recommend asking before you make a donation.  Here at Blessing Bags, items donated worth more than $25 in value are tax deductible and cash donations of any amount are also 100% tax deductible in accordance to IRS rules and regulations. 

Helping Others

Fake Charity Graphic on Social Media
You might have seen a certain graphic on Facebook or other social media going around talking about where your donated dollars goes to and how much their CEO's make when you donate. While those numbers are extreme and greatly skewed, it does have "some" truth to it. The point is most organizations do have overhead and with that, a leader, be it as a CEO, a Director or President. Most do take a salary and yes, some, a BIG one.

When you want to help others, I recommend that you check out on GuideStar or another website like them for salary and overhead information about each non profit.

Now, not every organization is a bad one and that's not what I'm trying to convey, but you should think where each dollar will go and what will it be used for in the way of helping others, operations, overhead and the like.

Because the Blessing Bag Program is still relatively young, we have very little overhead. No one on staff takes any sort of salary here. 100% of what is donated goes back into the program, everyone including myself is volunteer and we estimate that $0.98 cents of every dollar goes into bag production while about $0.02 of each dollar goes into media, such as postcards, business cards, some advertising and fundraising tools. I'm sure thing change over time and as we grow, but I plan to keep as much of our donated dollars as we can to the bags themselves and passing them out to those that need it.

BUT, EVERY PENNY STAYS WITHIN THE PROGRAM, FOR THE PROGRAM.

The Roanoke area has a lot of great charity and non profits here that do a LOT of good within South Western Virginia. We encourage you to choose one and help support them in what they do.

Without your help, organizations like ours wouldn't be able to do the things that they do!




Our Work with New LifeScape Ministries

New Lifescape Ministry is committed to impacting our communities by equipping local churches to effectively minister to and empower low income individuals and families.

They non-profit organization came to us with a need for some Blessing Bags back in the Fall of 2017. They help those that lose their jobs, those that are homeless and in poverty and they give them access to the resources that otherwise they wouldn't have. 

It's part of their mission. Their goal is to work with churches and take them through a course of how they should better be a valuable resource in the community with homeless, people in need and people in poverty. As many church homes might have a coat closest or food bank, the organization teaches churches to go beyond the basics and helps with gaining employment, connecting with other places for food, clothing and shelter and the like too. 

This national non-profit is working with churches all across the nation and the Blessing Bag Program is happy to provide our bags for those working with New Lifescape Ministries. 

We are providing bags to local homeless that they work with here in the Roanoke Valley. 

If your church home would like to learn more about what they do you can visit their website at http://www.newlifescapeministry.com.

Our Work With Helping SouthEast



Helping SouthEast is a small non-profit group that provides free and extremely affordable items to those living in poverty in South East Roanoke.

I was approached by Deone and Kathy, a couple of ladies that help run the organization and was asked if we could start making some Blessing Bags for the group.

They head out each Saturday morning in the city and they setup tables, pop-up tents and the like to auction off small items to the community and to provide free items that people need.

Each week, these ladies are heading out into the community to try and make a difference and The Blessing Bag Program is pleased to help out by creating bags for their clients. They pass them out as needed and many are extremely grateful for them too!

People really love the snacks and the foil packs of tuna that we place in them. Kathy, who we meet on a regular basis said that one gentlemen was so overwhelmed with our blessing bags he asked for another. Back in the summer of this year we received a large pack of tuna from someone that donated to the program and the guy living in SE hadn't had meat in a long time.

As crazy as that sounds he was so happy just to have tuna, something that's affordable to most and in plenty in each super market.

These ladies work hard each week and they run a Facebook page where people can offer items for sale, all the proceeds go back into the program to keep providing things that people in poverty need.

Thank YOU ladies FOR EVERYTHING that you do there in the South Eastern part of Roanoke! What You are doing IS making a difference!




Your Planned Non Profit Gift



What is Planned Giving? 

Planned giving is simply the act of giving to charity when you pass away. Your estate, in the form of a will or trust will give a portion of your assets to charity organizations in which the funds are used for programs they operate.

When you setup a Will or Trust, you will simply name the organization, Blessing Bag Program, along with our EIN, 82-2171108 and our address information. Indicate how much you would like the program to receive, when and if you have any specific programs what we do where the funding goes. If you don't specify, your gift(s) will be equally broken up into equal parts of our operation.

It's that simple.

When you setup a will or trust and name us, it doesn't cost you anything.

A planned gift is a wonderful way to keep your legacy going locally in the community and it ensures that your gift goes to a charity that works with those less fortunate.

If you have questions about our planned giving, contact our director Joshua at donate@blessingbag.net.

We ARE Making a Difference!

Hi friends!

Wow what a wonderful 2017 year we've had! Blessing Bags has been through so much and honestly I thought that I would have stopped creating and handing out bags back in the spring, but turning to the community and being showered with love, support, items as well as donations, the program has continued and a LOT of changes have taken place.

Today, I want to give you a quick re-cap of just a few of the things that we have done here in the Roanoke Valley and beyond!

We Became a 501(c)3

The BIGGEST thing that happened this year, our little tiny program became a IRS approved non-profit. We received our IRS 501c3 letter back in October and that has led to a world of opportunity for Blessing Bags.

We're able to give tax deductible receipts to those that give $50 or more worth of items or monetary
donations. We're also listed in GuideStar, which is an organization watchdog group if you will, that connects with places like Amazon Smile and Facebook to proud that we're legit.

The most awesome thing is that we're now able to work on getting grants from various foundations. Sure, theirs LOT's of paperwork but it gives us a fighting chance to raise some funds.

We raised over $2,500 This Year!

From May of this year we had both a Go Fund Me campaign as well as a bingo night which raised nearly $2,500 from the community. In 2016 and part of 2017 I was funding this venture myself to the tune of about $5,000.

Sure, the amounts are small potatoes compared to much larger non-profits, but the show of community support has been so amazing and I'm genuinely blessed YOU, the community has helped with keeping the program alive here in South Western Virginia.

Every penny raised this year has gone to the creation of these bags, which I'm happy to announce that we've made 1,200+ bags this year.

We Helped with Puerto Rico

One of the goals this year was to try and help with people in Puerto Rico and you came through! We
raised a little over $600 to create 427 bags and to cover the nearly $237 shipping to the island there.

That's 427 bags that will be passed out to people that haven't had power, water and other basics in weeks! We shipped out the bags on November 27th and they should be arriving there any day now, well keep you posted on that!

You Helped Rosie!

We decided to help Rosie, a homeless lady in dire need here in Roanoke. Working with The Least of These, apart of the Belmont Church here in Roanoke, we found out that she was extremely sick, she had pneumonia and no place to stay. Through a special Go Fund Me we created, we were able to raise just over $850 (minus those stupid fees) and help cover some housing, medical expenses and anything else that she needed while recovering.

At last word, she, Rosie, went to North Carolina and has been making a full recovery!

You Helped Locally!

We helped more than 350 families in need this year and several homeless. We created 775 (give or take a few) bags this year and we gave out lots of supplies to those that needed it!

You helped us also by donating items that otherwise we'd have to purchase and through your support, MANY PEOPLE here in Roanoke have been able to take better care of themselves because of YOU!

That's MORE than I had ever thought I'd be able to help this year and we are hoping to greatly
expand in 2018 because we've outgrown our own need here. We actually have a small waiting list of people that are hoping to get a bag right after Christmas.

We're Working with Other Organizations

We're also working with a few other organizations here in the Roanoke Valley in distributing out our bags. This greatly helps us spend more time creating them when we can and several friends and family have helped create them when we set them up each month.

We're working with the following organizations:


  • New Lifescape Ministry
  • Helping Southeast East
  • ARCH
  • Lynchburg Health Services
  • God's Pit Crew

We're also taking single bags to those that ask for it online. Mostly friends and family of people they know that need a bag, you can make your request here.

We're READY to GROW!

I have bigger plans for the Blessing Bag Program in 2018! I'm hoping to raise $13,000 this year, to double our bag production, find a small place to operate (other than my basement) and try to purchase a used vehicle for the program so we can make deliveries and not use my personal car.

Sure, these are big goals, but I'm hopeful with your continued community support, grants, financial support from area churches and corporate sponsors, we will be able to achieve this goal!

To learn more about our goals for 2018, click here.

We are also looking to work with even more organizations in 2018 and also get more people involved with helping us make these bags. We've gotten a LOT of requests for people to help with bags, making them or passing them out, BUT we can't do either without your continued support.

THANK YOU FOR 2017!


Thank you SO much for helping us start to change the face of our community this year. Yes, we have
a lot do to in the next few years, but we are much father along in helping our community than I thought.

Because of your support, no matter how great or small, it's making a positive difference in the lives of people! I'm hopeful that we sill be able to bring you more success stories in the next year to come!


Thanks friends~

Joshua

Children's Christmas Blessing Bags


Updated 12/18 1:10pm 

83% of our Children's Christmas Goal has been covered!
2 Days left and 11 on the list will NOT get Christmas unless you can help!



Donate here ---> Secure Donation Portal 
(100% of money donated in our secure portal page goes to us) 


Woah! We JUST had a "Secret Santa" who donated $200 to the Christmas 4 Kids! And not only that, they donated $100 earlier in the month.  





About a month ago, we asked you to Help Rosie , a homeless woman who had pneumonia and you came through with $850 raised in a couple of weeks for her.

Now, I would like for you to turn your attention to children in extreme poverty here in the Roanoke Valley and the New River Valley.



One thing that I've noticed over the last couple years of doing this non-profit is a need for presents, more like a request really. Families in extreme poverty have been asking if we do anything for kids for Christmas.

THANK YOU TO OUR CORPORATE HELP!! Montgomery Trucking and PE&SH Delivery Inc. We want to send them a heart felt THANK YOU for your $500 donation this year! Corporations can donate here.

The problem is that I don't operate by handing out Christmas gifts, let alone much stuff for kids,  I hand out blessing bags filled with hygiene items.

I'm asking for your help with either making a donation for these kids up to $25. WE'RE $275 short of our goal.

THANK YOU FOR THOSE THAT MET WITH US TODAY AT OUR COLLECTION POINTS!!!!!

Below are a list of names whom we are going to try and get gifts for here in SWVA.


Samantha age 9
William age 4
Leim age 4
Julia age 12

Karen age 12
Gregory age 11
Xavier age 8
**Shaquille age 6
**Jermaine age 13
Cammie age 4
Ginger age 10
*Joshua age 7
*Melissa age 9
John age 11

Jordan age 12
Dave age 13
Scott age 7

Thomas age 9
Melissa age 5
**William age 9
**Brian age 12

Chuck age 3
Lincoln age 6

Terresa Lynn age 9
Franklin age 8
Jinney age 7
Steven age 9
Scott age 10
David age 4
Whitney age 10
Becky age 13
Pam age 11
Frankie age 8
James age 12
Colton age 8
Cotter age 11

Bethany age 7
Louise age 3
Adam age 6
Austin age 5

**Xavier 10
**Alanna 7 
**Landon 4 
**Aubree 2 months
Jason 5
Trevor 13
Cindy 9 
Izabella 5
Braelynn  2 
Franklin 3
Belinda 5
Justin 1
Mathew 4
**Camille 9
**Martin Jr. 8
Brianna 10
**Mackenzie 15
**Mckayla 13
**Aviana 2 months
Jason 4
McKayla 8
Steve 9
Jared 4
Luci 11
Amanda 7



means that the child has picked to purchase gifts, gift card or donations for that child in need. Please have any items purchased and received to us by December 20th so we can make our special Christmas Run on Dec 21th and 22nd to the families with these kids. 

**siblings 

PLEASE NOTE: As of December 12th, we are no longer able to add additional children to our list. 

HOW YOU CAN HELP! It's EASY!

1. Pick a child's name and let us know who so we can mark them on the list.

2.  Make a donation and we will take care of the purchases. We are not able to meet up for collections at this point since we have a LOT of prep work ahead of us this week. Online donations are only being accepted at this point from today, Saturday 12-16-2017. Pics to come soon!

3. If You CAN NOT Help with a donation or gift purchase, YOU CAN STILL HELP US! How so? If you are on your desktop or laptop, click on an advertisement to the right of this article, it helps puts a few cents into our bank account!









Finally friends, for everyone that makes a donation below, no matter how small, you will be entered into a drawing for a $20 Amazon e-gift card donated to us by Amazon.

We'll pick a random winner on 12/20/2017 and announce that winner on the website.

Thank you in advance for your generosity here and thank YOU for Helping People Grow!




Donate here ---> Secure Donation Portal 

(100% of money donated in our secure portal goes to us) 



Terms and Conditions: 

Parents must live within Southwestern Virginia and be able to make arrangements to collect items at our drop off locations. We encourage you to share the Blessing Bag website, it's various programs with others on social media, however blind soliciting will not be tolerated and should we find that you are using our brand to blindly ask others for direct help, we will have to remove your child from the list. Also, those that are trying to scam us will be sadly disappointed, as all barcodes on toys have been removed or voided and items have been stamped with our brand. This is so you can't return an item to any store front. This is a first come, first serve program and we are happy to offer our Christmas4Kids program, however there are several others that also have asked to be placed on the this. Delivery of items will take place on Saturday,  12-23-2017 at one of 5 drop off points in Roanoke, Christiansburg, Floyd, Rocky Mount, Martinsville, Bedford. If you are missing your delivery instructions please contact us and we will email you a new copy. 

testimonial

We have had alot of people come by and they love the bags with tuna or snacks they say its the only thing they have other than our food for them said to thank you so much for all you do!

Kathy Scriver

Roanoke | Virginia

Your bags have helepd saved us here in SE [South East]. As a mother of three, we havent been able to afford even the basics and your bags help get us through the month. Thank YOU guys for what you do.

Teresa Jonston

Roanoke | Virginia

These bags really do a lot of good within the community. From a simple toothbrush or razor, soap and shampoo, everything makes a big difference to those stuggling here in the community. It's nice to see that people still care.

Steven Clark

Blacksburg | Virginia

I not only give when I can, I see the results for myself on the side of the streets. I've seen people from the [Rescue] Mission walk around with your bags. While many try to get back into the community, your bags seem to help them, espically when it comes to a job interview!

Sallie Commons

Richmond | Virginia

Blessing Bag Program
1|540|798.0719
Roanoke | Virginia

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