CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Dozens of volunteers from across the Charlottesville area came together to build “Blessing Bags,” quart-sized bags filled with items like deodorant, soap, snacks and other essentials for the area’s homeless and low-income communities.
“I woke up this morning and I felt like it was Christmas. I was so excited, knowing that we were going to do this,” said Jojo Robertson, who helped organize the event.
Over the span of about 30 minutes, more than 170 bags were filled, surpassing the original goal of 100. Cathy Rigby was one of the many volunteers who came to lend a hand.
“I’d been struggling finding opportunities so when I saw this I jumped on it so I’m really just amazed at how the community came together and it’s really been a lot of fun,” Rigby said.
Many volunteers like Rigby didn’t know anyone before coming to the event, but wanted to help once seeing the event on Facebook. Hundreds of dollars worth of items were donated over the span of several weeks. Robertson said the community support is overwhelming.
“Charlottesville’s incredible. I’ve done projects in other places, but here the response is amazing. People want to help,” she explained.
Although the event was almost cancelled due to COVID-19, Robertson said this year, it would be more important than ever before.
“It’s letting people know that people love and care for them. Homeless people are our community, and that’s why we need to reach out,” Robertson said.
Bags were sanitized throughout the bagging and filling process. All volunteers had to wear a mask. Robertson said doing something as simple as putting items into bags to help the community, especially during a pandemic, can go a long way.
“Kindness is contagious. COVID-19 is, but kindness is too. These people are incredible,” she said.
All Blessing Bags will be given to The Haven in Charlottesville, which will then be distributed to those in need across the Charlottesville area. Robertson said there may be another Blessing Bags event again closer to Christmas.