Sackcloth & Ashes CEO shares purpose for helping homeless, kids in foster care this holiday season

Bob Dalton and Chris Tomlin posing with the book Everyone is someone, 2020
Bob Dalton and Chris Tomlin posing with the book Everyone is someone, 2020 | Finn Partners

Sackcloth & Ashes CEO Bob Dalton is helping children in need this holiday season with the release of his children’s book, Everyone is Someone, and by giving away blankets to children in foster care.

“The book aims to teach children that we are all more similar than we are different — that everyone, everywhere, is someone,” Dalton told The Christian Post about the core message in his book. 

Worship leader Chris Tomlin partnered with Dalton after learning that he and his team were donating blankets to children at homeless shelters nationwide.

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Sackcloth & Ashes, which is based in Oregon, launched its blanket initiative in 2018 with the goal of donating 1 million blankets to homeless shelters by 2024.

That dream expanded after Dalton penned his new children’s book that aims to teach children about acceptance. With every book sold, a copy will be donated to a child in the foster care system.

Just in time for the Christmas season, the company has also launched its first-ever line of children's blankets. With the purchase of every blanket, Sackcloth & Ashes will donate a blanket and book to a child in foster care.

Dalton explained why he decided to launch the initiative to give a free book and blanket to children in foster care in an interview with The Christian Post. 

CP: Will you tell us more about your company Sackcloth & Ashes?

Dalton: Sackcloth & Ashes was born from a personal story and genuine need. In 2013, my mother found herself living on the streets. Her struggle inspired me to help the homeless population, and I began calling homeless shelters to ask what they needed most. They all said blankets. To meet that need I started Sackcloth & Ashes, a mission-driven company that donates a blanket to a homeless shelter for every blanket sold.

In 2018, we launched Blanket the United States with the goal to donate 1 million blankets to homeless shelters by 2024. Over the span of seven years, Sackcloth & Ashes has partnered with over 500 shelters in the United States. We [send] donated blankets to homeless shelters based on the ZIP code of the buyer’s shipping address, and international donation blankets are sent to shelters in the United States that have expressed the most need.

CP: What inspired your new book and desire to help children in foster care?

Dalton: I am so inspired to support children and those in foster care because they are our future. Our mission at Sackcloth & Ashes continues to be on giving to those who need it most. My hope is to share a sincere message of compassion and acceptance with our kids, who are the future of this country.

This holiday season, I hope this simple and colorful story can help spread a positive message for all ages — a message that focuses less on labels and more on our common humanity.

CP: How did your partnership with Chris Tomlin come about?

Dalton: Chris is a supporter of Sackcloth & Ashes, and chose to become involved with the Everyone is Someone launch because of the work he does with his nonprofit, Angel Armies and their connection to Camp Anderson.

Sackcloth & Ashes has pledged to donate a copy of Everyone is Someone and a blanket to all kids attending Camp Anderson this year for the holidays. We are also donating $6,000 to the camp for their ongoing philanthropic efforts.

You can find additional information about the partnership here.

CP: What will readers learn from the book?

Dalton: I collaborated with Scottish artist Ritchie Collins on Everyone is Someone to create a vibrant, beautifully illustrated book and provide a simple and compassionate lesson in acceptance. In rhyme, the book aims to teach children that we are all more similar than we are different — that everyone, everywhere, is someone.

With each book sold, we are giving a book to a child in foster care.

CP: Can you share the significance behind the children's blankets?

Dalton: The new line of children’s blankets are mini versions of Sackcloth & Ashes standard-sized blankets, created to snuggle children ages 3 to 10 years old (size 38” x 48”). Rather than the signature Sackcloth & Ashes label, I wanted each blanket to have a label that says “Everyone is Someone.”

Each blanket retails for $89 and comes with a free copy of the book while also sending a blanket and book to a child in foster care.

CP: For a limited time 100% of the profits from books and blankets sold were donated to Camp Anderson. Will you share why that particular camp has impacted you?

Dalton: Chris Tomlin introduced us to Camp Anderson and together we decided they’d be the nonprofit beneficiary due to their incredible work bringing the joy and spirit of the holidays to children in foster care.

Each year, kids in foster care are invited to attend a three-day Christmas event at Camp Anderson at the end of December. Each child will have at least three gifts under the tree with their name on them.

CP: Why should people be encouraged to give back this holiday season?

Dalton: At the end of the day, we are all people and at some point, we will all need help and support in one form or another. None of us are exempt from difficult circumstances. I feel it's so important to give and help when you can because you never know what someone might be going through. That gift or support can bring so much positivity and joy to people they might not have expected or experienced before, and hopefully, change so many lives for the better.

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