‘Blessing Bags’ help Miriam’s House give essentials to less fortunate, collect data on homelessness

Local count will affect federal funding decisions

LYNCHBURG, Va.Miriam’s House is distributing ‘blessing bags’ to those who are less fortunate.

Each bag is packed with items such as personal hygiene products, socks, gloves, and snacks – all to help the organization continue its fight against homelessness.

Lynchburg Parks and Rec organized the drive and donated 274 bags – more than double last year’s total.

Sarah Quarantotto, executive director of Miriam’s House, said the blessing bags will benefit those without shelter and the nonprofit organization.

“We’ll be able to use these blessing bags as a way to really give them essential items that they need, while also capturing data on what the situation is like so we can better meet their needs,” said Quarantotto.

That data is part of a bi-annual count.

A graphic detailing those who are homeless in Lynchburg. (Miriam's House)

“This count really informs the federal government on funding decisions [and] what the need is in each community,” said Quarantotto.

This time last year, officials counted 73 people who were homeless in Lynchburg and the surrounding counties of Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, and Campbell.

Last summer, that number fell to 53.

“We’ve seen lower than normal homeless numbers in our community, but we know that that’s about to end; that those safety nets, like the eviction moratorium, is about to be lifted. So, the anticipation of all of us in homeless response is that homelessness will rise over the next few months,” Quarantotto said.

Miriam’s House is counting on resources to meet the need.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.