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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

Wednesday, July 19

How Blessing Bags Work- FAQS

Hi Friends,

I wanted to share with you some insights on the Blessing Bag Program and give you some related facts behind what we do and how it effects your local community. Below are some related facts that I encourage you to read up on.

What is a Blessing Bag? 

The Blessing Bag Program was created by Joshua Gabrielson of Roanoke, Virginia in 2016.

The original idea was to place items in bags and hand those out rather than giving cash to panhandlers in the area, as that was a better alternative than cash.

The program quickly turned into a program for those in need rather than panhandling.

Normally, they are plastic quart sized bags filled with various items not normally provided by a homeless shelter or items that go beyond the basics.

What Items can Go in a Blessing Bag? 

To give you an idea, items are usually travel sized but can have a big impact. Everything from a toothbrush, soap, body lotion, feminine products, eye drops, snacks such as crackers or foiled pack of tuna, information on local resources, pair of new socks, gloves for the winter, etc. There are a lot more items that can go into these bags but gives you a rough idea. You can find a complete list of items we collect, here.

When do you make Blessing Bags? 

We usually make them the first week of each month and we try to make as many as we need or that our budget will allow. After making them, we tend to go out and distribute them to those that need them. We also work with other non-profits in distributing them, like New Lifescape Ministries and Helping South East.

Who gets these Blessing Bags? 

Good question. While we have three different categories, homelessness, families with children and seniors, the program is open to anyone who is in need.

Our definition of being in need is the lack of being able to provide for yourself or you family due to budget constraints. We typically try to service anyone with a 40 mile radius of Roanoke although there are requirements to get a bag, such as income level.

Do you have anyone that abuses the program? 

Yes, I'm sure that we do but we try to do a good job of figuring out who's who.

Are you really a non-profit?


Yes! We are a registered 501(c)3 non-profit public charitable organization. Items greater than $50 are tax deductible in person or completely deductible online at our Roanoke Valley Gives Portal. You can learn more about our status at GuideStar. They are a non-profit watchdog organization that monitors and certifies non-profits like us!

Can you give me a list of people that need items? 

No, we don't give out lists or names. It's hard enough to be in the position that you are in when you have to ask for help, let alone receive it.

Can my church or business donate to the program? 

Yes! We encourage both churches as well as businesses to help participate in the program. You are helping the local community, plus it shows that you care about those in need. It's a great way to help get some free promotion out there too! And it's tax deductible too!

Can I donate items or cash? 

You can donate both to the program. Just click the Contact Us button at the top and send us a message and someone will get back with you regarding making arrangements to pick up an items or click this link for a cash donation which is tax deductible.

How Many People can get a Blessing Bag? 

There are roughly 309,000 people in our iDMA or Immediate Demographic Marketing Area. From that, we have gathered through reports from HUD and the Council of Community Services that about 845+ people are considered homeless (those counted in reports and those not in a enrolled program currently). Additionally, we service families that have a place to live but are living below the poverty level, approximately 4,200. All together, we estimate there are about 5,000 in need of our bags each month in the Roanoke Valley.

I know of someone that needs a bag, can we get them one?

Yes, of course! There is no cost but we are happy to make arrangements to meet up to get you a bag or two to pass along. Just fill out this online form.












Is the director of the Blessing Bag Program which started in 2016. From personally funding the program to becoming a small non-profit, Joshua not only oversee's the making of the bags ,but works with others in the community to make sure they get into the hands of the homeless and needy. Joshua runs the program in his spare time when not working fulltime.

Blessing Bag Program
1|540|798|0719
Roanoke | Virginia

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