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Blessing Bags

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

Sunday, December 10

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


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. 


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.


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!

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.

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