LAND O' LAKES, Fla. — A woman in Land O’ Lakes is running a small nonprofit helping people struggling to stay afloat but who don’t qualify for government assistance.

What You Need To Know

  • A Land O' Lakes woman is approaching her first anniversary running her nonprofit named Grace, Gratitude & Giving

  • The goal of the nonprofit, according to director Michelle Bergeron, is to help people who don't qualify for government benefits

  • It's a cause that means a lot to Bergeron because she said she's been in that scenario several times in her life

The organization is called Grace, Gratitude & Giving, and its director, Michelle Bergeron, wants to help people in that type of situation because it’s something she dealt with in her own life.

Bergeron said over the last decade she struggled financially because of uncontrollable moments like car accidents or when her house foreclosed in 2008, forcing her to dip into her savings until there was nothing left.

“It’s a hard place to be,” Bergeron said. “Especially when you have kids and have to make that decision of, ‘Well, what am I doing this week? Am I paying the electricity bill or am I buying food?’”

For a time, she was a single mother raising two boys, so that decision was never easy.

She said she made just enough money where she didn’t qualify for benefits but still didn’t have enough money to pay every bill.

That tough spot led her to start the nonprofit in January 2023.

“I help people who are in those moments of ‘this is my worst day,’” Bergeron said. “I want to be that person that says, ‘Well, let me make it a little bit better for you.’”

It’s a small organization where she’s helped pay for medical bills and rent, while also distributing dozens of blessing bags, which include snacks and other sundry items for people to take.

She runs this nonprofit while consulting remotely and while driving for Uber.

Driving folks around is a side hustle that is more than just supplemental income. It’s a place where she can spread the word about grace, gratitude and giving.

“A lot of people ask what I do, or do I only do Uber and I always make sure I say no, I run a nonprofit,” Bergeron said. “I just do this for money on the side because I want to get that conversation out there.”

Recently, she helped a customer who lost his car in an accident pay for groceries.

“I meet a lot of wonderful people and I just have a good time doing it,” Bergeron said.

That joy radiates from Bergeron, whether it’s a simple Uber ride or time spent at her home.

Recently, Bergeron’s nonprofit partnered with Feed My Sheep CFL in Lakeland to give away over 100 blessing bags to homeless people in Polk County.