Hello, Welcome to

Blessing Bags

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

Helping People Grow...

Hello and

Welcome to Blessing Bags

Joshua Gabrielson | Director and Founder

The Blessing Bag Program is a 501c3 non-profit that provides bags filled with hygiene and related items to those that are homeless, families living below the poverty level, senior citizens that live by themselves and children that are in need. Our program grows just about every week as we work with churches and other organizations to help pass out our bags to those in need. The program operates in 24 states and we are always looking for people to help in various ways.

What We Do

Homeless

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

Global Needs

Many Iraq citizens live in poverty and our missionary is on the ground helping by providing bags and support.

Families in Need

We also create and pass out bags for families with kids, living below the poverty line of $15,000 annually, within 24 states.

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 20,000 people 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.

Just Some of Our Corporate Sponsorships for 2018

Become a Corporate Sponsor

In the News

Blessing Bags to Wilmington and Myrtle Beach



Blessing Bags sent more than 400 Emergency Blessing Bags to the areas of Wilmington and Myrtle Beach Sunday, September 16th.

Thanks to you and your donations, we're able to help local citizens without power, running water and those in the wake of the flood damaged areas.  We took out $500 from our general fund to help create and pass out these bags and we hope that we were able to make a difference among those effected.





Hurricane Florence Prepareness



Seeking Donation Items ahead of Hurricane Florence 

Blessing Bags, the nations blessing bag program, is seeking item donations ahead of the hurricane that will impact the mid-Atlantic region as well as North and South Carolina. 

Based in Roanoke, VA, our 501c3 is preparing to send 700+ Blessing Bags to the areas hit the worst and we are seeking item donations that you can drop off at our corporate sponsor, Proms, Pageants & Pretty Things in Roanoke, Virginia. You can also ship your items to us, just email us to get that process started. 

Items that you can donate include travel sized, sometimes refereed to at hotel sized items such as:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash 
  • Dental Floss
  • Hand Lotion 
  • Lip Baum
  • SPF Sunblock
  • Cleaning wipes
  • Plastic Spoons
  • Aspirin or equivalent
  • Vitamins
  • Travel soap
  • Travel shampoo/conditioner  
  • Deodorant
  • Eye drops
  • Disposable razor
  • Shaving Cream
  • Comb or hairbrush
  • Q-tips 
  • Razors
  • Shaving Cream

Depending on where the heaviest damaged areas are, we will be heading into that area with our bags to be able to hand them out as needed to people that need them the most. 

We will be bringing you updates after the storm on where our bags wind up as well as volunteer help

You can also make a cash donation which is tax deductible by clicking the donate button below.  


Vacation Bible School Children Make Blessing Bags



Kids from a local Vacation Bible School program helped make several hundred Blessing Bags filled with items for those in need! The kids made bracelets, added candy and other items within each of the nearly 300 bags that they put together for us during vacation bible school week!

These bags will be passed out within the Southwestern Virginia region in the fall when our stock becomes somewhat low during that time of year.

The church also donated to us financially and helped us with delivering these bags to us.

We want to thank Rocky Mount Baptist Church for helping our such a great cause!









Blessing Bags Helps Seniors in Need

Blessing Bags was happy to be part of the Belmont Senior Living Facility grand reopening in California. The retirement facility recently had undergone a full remodel of the 132 apartment style homes and part of the grand opening, Blessing Bags created special bags filled with personal hygiene items that the facility requested.

Thank You so much for taking care of people and providing such a great service in your area!


Blessing Bag Secrets No One Tells You

Secrets to Blessing Bags that No One Tells You

When it comes to creating and handing out Blessing Bags, no one tells you those little secret that can help with your bottom line. Your bottom line, the amount of funding that you spend on making these bags can vary greatly from organization to organization, how often you create them and ultimately what goes inside of them too.

Well, today I want to share with you a few secrets that you can use to help maximize your return on investment and stretch those dollars even further with making your blessing bags.


Buy In Bulk


As you already know, you should buy in bulk when you can. But did you know that when you contact store managers many times they will help discount some items if you ask them?

Give it a try. Head into your local department store and ask to speak with a manager. Explain to them that you are in the process of creating blessing bags and you are looking for generic items to place inside the bags at discounted prices. Ask if they have any overstocked items that you could purchase at a small discount and see if you can take them off their hands.

Many times, stores will have something extra they could part with for a deep discount. Recently, when I was in my local Target store for example, I was able to score a couple of boxes of toothpaste for our program at 80% off.

Amazon Basics

One of the best secrets out there on the market is purchasing Amazon Basics in bulk. I bet you didn't know that Amazon has a complete line of bulk travel items at huge discount prices. They have a product line of travel items that I recommend that you purchase called Eco Amenities.

Their generic brand of travel sized items is a perfect solution when you are looking to acquire at very affordable pricing. Blessing Bags purchases a majority of our items through them and because we purchase so many, we get a deeper discount than even what's listed.

You can get everything from shampoo, soaps, lotions, SPF lotion, conditioner, toothpaste, brushes and much more.


Dollar General Penny Sales

Also, I would recommend that you check out the Dollar General Penny Sales. There is a Facebook group that works with others in providing these great deals and yes they do exist. 

This is how it works. When the good folks at DG stop carrying an item in stock they are supposed to take it off the shelves and return it to the warehouse. Many times they forget to do this within the allotted time-frame and if the stock is on the shelf after the discontinued date, their computer systems mark them down to literally, one penny. 

Here at Blessing Bags, we've only been able to discover one personal account of this, when we were looking for more deodorants for our bags we noticed that local DG stores discontinued a select scent of Speed Stick and we were able to gab about 150 of them for literally a few bucks. Granted, we had to travel to 6 local DG stores to achieve this but we did save quite a lot in the process. 

Work with Other Groups

Making bags is one thing, handing them out to people who need them is another. While your intent is to work with homeless people, you can also work with other demographics in the process as well, senior citizens, veterans, adoption centers, families in dire need are just a handful of other groups in need that you can focus on.

One key ingredient that you should look for is to find other organizations that deal with these demographics and offer your blessing bags to them. Often times it can be difficult to connect with the types of people that you want to have your bags int he first place and usually, some other organization is helping them in other ways. So it's best to connect with organizations that already deal with the people you are seeking. For example, if you have a local food bank that works with families in need, offer to place your bags with them as they will be able to hand out your bags for free and many times faster than you could as well.

Our team here works mostly with churches that have some sort of mission or food bank program. You can find our bags in 24 states across 98 different churches. 

Best Way to Build Blessing Bags

Building Blessing Bags the Smart Way

When it comes to putting blessing bags together, there is an easy way and a hard way. While we all know this, many churches or other organizations tend to operate in a hard way.

Truth be told, you can often times create blessing bags with just one or two people and today I'm going to share with you some insights on how we make blessing bags here at our organization. Our insights should help you in your own endeavors in building these bags for your local community.

Assembly Line

If you're going to make these bags, the best way is to have an assembly line of some sort. The best thing to do is setup an operation table where you can build a bag and have a box to put them in at the end.

Normally an 8ft folding table or location with enough space should be good enough to create the bags. On the left end of the table, start with the plastic bags and inserts themselves. Here at our non-profit, we use the Blessing Bag Postcards as inserts.

From there, we have 2-3 large totes at any given time filled with the various items people have donated to the program or items we purchase through our volume discount pricing with places like Wal-Mart or Amazon.

Starting from the left, take a bag, place an insert if you have one, then slowly take the bag and walk down the table and place your items into the bags until the bag it full or meets your own requirements.

At the end, we keep a large tote where we place the finished bag and keep them in large 20 gallon totes for storage until use.

Creating a station like this will enable a single person to create anywhere from 50-100 bags per hour. And since most of the items are in larger totes, as a tote becomes empty, we simply stop the assembly process and place the empty tote with a full one of similar items.

Additionally, we try to keep a food tote at the end of the assembly line. This helps prevent food from being crushed by other items and it keeps the food or snack items at the top of the bag, more likley to be used first and foremost.

The 20 gallons totes generally fit about 65-75 bags within reason and on a normal 8 hour work day a volunteer can create several hundred bags for the organization. 

While your church or organization might not produce the level of bags that we do, you can easily replicate this process on a smaller scale or setup several of these mini work stations to fill the bags.






How Blessing Bags Make an Impact


The Impact of a Blessing Bag

As you create and pass out blessing bags within your own area, be it our bags that we offer to churches and other non profits or your own DIY Blessing Bags, it's important to understand the impact of what passing out bags can do.

Getting Data back from your blessing bags can be key in how you further pass them out in the future. The reality however, is that you can't ask a homeless person to jump online and fill out a survey, so what can you do?

Old Fashion Talking


One of the keys in getting back feedback for the bags you pass out is simply asking. believe it or not, many people, regardless of lifestyle or situation, can give you feedback.

When I was first starting out a couple years ago with passing out Blessing Bags, I would often get feedback. One of the first changes I made in the bags was by feedback I got from women. They would tell me that they could really use feminine products, something that I never really thought about to begin with. The same thing for our senior citizen Blessing Bags too.

So after a while I started to change a handful of the bags to help with issues just like that. Labeling them with a small dot or mark on the mark the bag will help determine what to pass out to whom and that's a smart idea to help identify the bag types if you can.


Feedback From Other Organizations 

You can also get feedback from the organizations that hand out your blessing bags too. For example, our public charity works with many churches and many other non profits that reach out to places where we can't.

We recently had an organization tell us that the foiled tuna pouches that we started placing in our bags was not only a big hit, but many people wanted more of them. Take my friend Kathy, she works for another non profit called Helping SouthEast. We provide blessing bags to them every other month and we got some positive feedback in what we do.


Impact, Impact, IMPACT!

Perhaps the BEST type of feedback is by people themselves that use blessing bags. While you will not normally get much int he way of feedback, sometimes it does come across every now and then.

If you receive feedback, good or bad, then you are starting to make an impact within the community. As you start to provide bags on a regular basis, you will hopefully start to see some great changes locally but also you will see an increase in demand for your bags too.

Always listen to what others have to say and adjust your bags contents as needed or during the time of year. For example, if you live in a part of the United States where winters are cold, change your bags contents to include cheap gloves or a pair of socks. In areas that see really hot summers, change the bag by providing SPF sunblock or lip baum.



Blessing Bag Printable Checklist

Official Blessing Bag Printable Checklist




If you are looking for the Official Blessing Bag Checklist that you can print or download and use, you are in luck! Our non-profit program offers the first checklist that is used by most churches and organizations in the USA.

The printable checklist is a rough guide that provides you a working list of items we purchase or collect and place inside each bag.

For the following type we recommend:


  • Homeless Person 8-10 items, all travel sized and use a quart sized bag.
  • Families with children use a larger gallon sized or brown paper bag, 10-14 items.
  • Seniors, 8-10 items in a quart or gallon sized bag. 
  • Veterans should get the same as seniors, 8-10 items in a quart or gallon sized bag.  


We offer this checklist in a PDF format  as well as text based below.

Blessing Bags Helping Homeless in Roanoke VA


Hi friends!

As the month of February has come, 2018 has not slowed our little program down much in the way of helping others here.

Ariel, a Roanoke College graduate recently reached out to our small non-profit in hopes that we could help a homeless man Karrit and his dog Gür. Since Thanksgiving they have been living in the van as they made their way from Mississippi here to visit family in the Roanoke area. 

After a long stay, he started to head back only to find out the van had issues running. Back in December, he had a kind couple offer to help fix the van so he could get back to work and be on his merry way. 

Well, as life tends to happen sometimes, the van took a turn for the worse and working day jobs at the temp agency wasn't going to cut it anymore. The van stopped running. 

Since Karrit and the pup lived in the van, running it was a source of heat during the cold snap we had last month and in the evenings. 

After Ariel asked me to help, our program put together a Go Fund Me in order to help him out. After raising more than $700, we turned to help by posting on social media and asking people to help with no just costs but repairs to the van. 

We had three people pay for him to stay in a motel near the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport, all whom wanted to remain remain anonymous. At $50 a night the three citizens helped pay roughly $350 for him to stay there.

During this time I met up with Karrit to deliver the first round of funding that came through from Go Fund Me. Talk about an awesome and humble guy here. I was happy to give him some lunch from Hardee's and a $300 gift card, 1st of two.

After meeting with him for about 25 minutes I had to get back to work (I do work full time) and continued my search for help with regards to the van repairs here.

Well, today after reaching out to a few people, Pat Janney, a local mechanic was able to meet up with Karrit today and they got the van up and running after purchasing a part for the van.

Karrit left and Pat Janney right after they fixed the van. 
After confirming this, we're happy to announce the van is repaired, Karrit and Gur have one more night in the motel and they will be on their way back to Mississippi later this weekend!

Together, with the help of Ariel, Pat and many others whom wish to remain silent, were able to help get him off the streets for a few days, repair his van and even have some funding to help cover fuel, food and other needed things along the way.

Our organizations mission is to "Help People Grow" and sometimes that means a little more than Blessing Bag from time to time. While some people only had discouraging words to offer, the few that helped out with their actions shows that there are STILL great people in and around the Roanoke Valley!

We will continue to keep the GFM page up and running for a couple more days and we'll keep in touch with Karrit to make sure they get back to their home. 


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

As a single mother of 3 and struggling to find full time work here in the Charlotte NC area, I found your business card by chance when visiting a local church in the area. I reached out to you guys and you send us 4 of your blessing bags. Wow, what a God send. The kids needed new toothbrushes and we needed the basics such as the shampoo and soap that were in the bags too. Because of your program, you’re helping us here in small ways that truly mean the world.

Kathline West

Charlotte | North Carolina

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

SEND US A MESSAGE

.