On October 10, 2015, ten months of incredibly hard work and a lot of joy will culminate in over 200 Citypak backpacks being distributed to the guests at The Bridge Outreach in downtown St. Louis. It is going to be an amazing day!

These backpacks are made specially for our homeless neighbors living on the streets, and each will be filled with gloves, a hat, socks,  a fleece throw, a hygiene bag, a water bottle, a snack bag, and a scarf handmade with love to show the recipient that someone truly cares.

The support from our community of caring has been wonderfully overwhelming. We have received scarves from all over the country, and donations, big and small, have come from people from all walks of life. Last year, I assembled and distributed 20 backpacks on my own. When we founded BACK@YOU as a nonprofit, I thought I might be able to get 40 together. I might have underestimated things just a little!

Luckily, family and friends knew this was going to far surpass my prediction, and they helped me prepare for the success we have had. We discovered Citypak Project early on when I was searching for what I hoped would be really good backpacks to fill with our essentials. Citypak’s backpacks aren’t just good—they are perfect! They provide their packs to organizations around the country, and now they have partnered with BACK@YOU, too.

Everything we put in our backpacks will fit comfortably and be easy to organize and find. This is our first year, but with the support we have received, we plan to dream bigger each year. We can’t give our homeless neighbors a home of their own, but we partner with organizations that can, and show them respect and kindness before that happens.

We will need volunteers on October 10 to meet at BACK@YOU and help load a truck with filled backpacks and then unload the truck at The Bridge, 1610 Olive St, and set up for the distribution. And we need volunteers to help us hand out the backpacks. A volunteer will hand each backpack individually to a guest, then accompany the guest to where we will have heavy hoodies arranged by size in various colors, and help them pick one out. Every guest will be shown respect and be made to feel special. We want to make sure they realize that, at BACK@YOU, we see the homeless, and we’ve got their backs!

For more information on volunteering with us on October 10, please write to us using our contact form.