Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Blessing Bags

I am so very excited to tell you about an awesome opportunity for your family this holiday season.

My sister is rad.  You can read this post for more info on that.  She has an amazing business that is really more of a ministry, called Throne of Grace. She is constantly looking for ways to bless people, through this business and through her life.  This year she and her husband have decided to head up Project Blessing Bags, something that they came up with to help their family focus on giving this Christmas.  I personally was thrilled when she told me about this idea.  Nathan and I are a part of a couples' small group that we have been with for almost 12 years, and our group is always looking for ways to bless the needy in our community.  This idea is perfect, and I can't wait to fill my trunk with Blessing Bags.

Below is the email that she sent out explaining this project.  Please read my sister's words below and consider if this is something that your family would like to participate in.  You don't have to be local to participate. 

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Hello Dear Friends and Family,

The Christmas Season is upon us and the Garibaldi House is excited! After thegreat success of the World Vision Farm Project last year, we were eager tofocus the season, once again, on the giving rather than the receiving. We'vebeen thinking and planning for months and have finally settled on a new givingproject this year, and we'd love to have you join us!

As the "down-turned" economy persists, the level of need continues togrow, even here in the "Orange County Bubble". As parents, Kevin andI have struggled with the questions Colin and Lucy ask when we seen a man orwoman on the side of the road with a cardboard sign asking for help. Like you,we've struggled between wanting to help, not knowing how to help, and, if weare honest, even doubting at times whether the help is really needed or if thehelp received will be put to good use or used to fund a bad habit. Then God putan idea on our hearts as a way to be a blessing to those in need, while at thesame time giving us an opportunity to bring perspective to our own lives andhelp fight the feeling of entitlement that we find it so easy to succumb to!

We've decided to assemble "Blessing Bags" that we can keep in thetrunk of the car, ready to hand out at a moment's notice to those we comeacross in daily life who are in need. Included in each extra-large ziploc bagwill be a fleece blanket, toiletry items, water bottles, non-perishable fooditems, a Bible, a Bible tract, possibly a small gift card, and more. We've beenresearching and pricing out items bought in bulk for the past couple of weeksand estimate the cost per bag to be $12 - $15 each. (No more than $15). Wedon't have an exact price yet because it depends on the number of bags we make(the more bags, the cheaper the price per bag!) and it also depends on thenumber of donations we receive. We also would like to get a little input onwhat's included from those who want to participate with us.

So...here is the plan! Please pray with us and see if God might be calling youto participate in being a blessing through Project Blessing Bags. There are anumber of ways you can get involved, and your level of involvement is totallyup to you. Here are a few:

1) Order and purchase Blessing Bags that we assemble for your family todistribute.

2) Offer your services to help pick up some of the needed supplies at Costco,CVS, Target, etc. We will give you specific items and quantities if you chooseto help in this way!

3) Come help us assemble Blessing Bags! Day and time TBD (will be announced assoon as we get a final date on all the supplies arriving - sometime in the nextfew weeks). Kids are welcome and we encourage you to participate as a wholefamily. We'll be doing an assembly line production to fill each bag. It shouldbe a fun and memorable time!

4) For those of you not local to Orange County - you can sponsor thedistribution of Blessing Bags by contributing financially to help us be able topass out more bags and/or help us reduce the cost per bag. Non-locals also havethe opportunity to purchase and receive bags, however shipping charges willapply!

5) PRAY!! Pray that God would be glorified through this project and that allinvolved (especially the kids!) would receive spiritual blessings of increasedfaith as we see God provide abundantly! Most importantly, pray that God woulduse these Blessing Bags to truly be a blessing to individuals and families whoare struggling and that their needs would be filled both spiritually andmaterially.

Every one of us reading this email has SO MUCH! When we were out at Costco justyesterday to price out some items for the bags, we were picking up a fewhousehold things as well. Kevin asked me if we needed to buy some more syrup,but neither of us could remember if we had seen syrup in the pantry - the pantrythat we stare into multiple times a day! It just struck me that we have suchfull pantries and refrigerators that we don't even know what we have!

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 says, "The point is this: whoever sows sparinglywill also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reapbountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantlyor under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to makeall grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at alltimes, you may abound in every good work." (ESV)

Please let us know if you would like to be included in Project Blessing Bagsby this FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30th. We need to know:

1) How many bags you would like to purchase, and
2) If you would like to be involved at some other level, what you'd like to do!


See below for a list of common questions...

Merry Christmas! May the Lord bless you with a wonderful season filled with theTRUE spirit of giving!

With love,
Kevin, Molly, Colin & Lucy Garibaldi

Questions you may have...
Q: If we choose not to participate, will you still call us friends?
A: Of course! There are many, many ways to give at Christmas and we knowmany of you do so much already! This is just one opportunity and we only wantyou to participate if God puts it on your heart to do so!

Q: If you get a big response, how will you find enough people to hand theseBlessing Bags out to in South Orange County?
A: The sky is the limit with this! We will take it wherever God leads!We are well-aware that Orange County isn't exactly the capital of the homelesspopulation so depending on the response we get, we will make sure every bag isdistributed in some way. We can drive to Santa Ana or Los Angeles anddistribute there. We can give them to a rescue mission or church in a moreimpoverished area (we've even had thoughts of connecting with people in theareas hit by Hurricane Sandy to distribute!)

Q: Is Project Blessing Bags connected to a particular church ororganization?
A: No. This is simply the Garibaldi family wanting to run with an idea!We are inviting people from all spheres of our life to participate and ourdesire is to meet the needs of the hurting around us. Though we are including aBible in each bag, this is not a form of proselytizing for a particular church.You all know our faith is important to us and we feel that simply meeting thephysical needs of a hurting heart would not be enough. We want to also makeavailable to them, in an unassuming way, the hope that we have found in Christ.

Q: When do we need to pay for the bags and who do we make the check out to?
A: You will pay for the bags sometime between when you order and whenyou pick up. Again, we will give you more definite dates once we get a handleon how many bags we will be making. Checks can be made out to Molly or KevinGaribaldi. Obviously, we are not a non-profit organization, so this will notprovide a tax write-off. But neither would a donation to a man on the streetprovide a tax write-off! We will not be making any profit off this project andwill keep a careful accounting of every receipt for the items purchased and thenumber of bags made. We will be happy to make these records available to anyonewho would like a copy for accountability sake! :)

Q: What if I have other friends or family that would like to participate?
A: The more the merrier! You can certainly place orders on behalf ofothers not included in this email or have them contact us to order directly.

Any other questions? Don't hesitate to ask! We hope to hear from many of youand will share our progress along the way!

For more information, email Molly at molly{at}throneofgrace{dot}com or visit www.facebook.com/throneofgrace.

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