For Immediate Release

Custom Designed Backpacks For Homeless
to be Distributed in St. Louis on October 10.

National not-for-profit The CITYPAK project and local partners BACK@YOU and The Bridge Outreach will distribute 200 CITYPAK backpacks.

Watch the video on CITYPAK’s recent New York City Distributions HERE.

St. Louis, Mo. – Today, BACK@YOU and The CITYPAK Project announce plans to distribute over 200 custom-designed CITYPAK backpacks to local area homeless in need.  BACK@YOU is proud to be the first CITYPAK Project partner in the St. Louis metropolitan area. The distribution takes place on October 10 at 10am at The Bridge Outreach (1610 Olive Street).

St. Louis-based BACK@YOU supplies backpacks to the homeless filled with essentials that help them survive life on the streets. Along with those items, there is a handmade scarf, letting the recipient know that there is kindness, comfort and respect being given to them. “We’re excited to be filling CITYPAK backpacks for this fall distribution,” says BACK@YOU founder Kathy Acre. “These are really large, durable packs with special features that specifically fit the needs of the homeless.” PAKs will be distributed to homeless guests of The Bridge Outreach, a local organization that offers homeless neighbors in St Louis sanctuary from the elements, meals, and services that can help to end their homelessness and lead to self-sufficiency.

CITYPAK will distribute over 6000 PAKs throughout the U.S. during the upcoming summer/fall months. On the books are debut distributions in Madison, WI (September 24), St. Louis, MO (October 10), Detroit, MI (October 16), San Francisco, CA (October 23), Berkeley, CA (October 24), and Portland, OR (December 12), a fourth-time return to CITYPAKs home-base of Chicago, IL (November 13), and drops in over 10 additional U.S. cities and towns throughout the summer and fall.  Also in 2015, the organization hosts its first-ever international distribution in Toronto, Canada on October 18. These distributions will bring the total number of CITYPAK backpacks distributed to over 21,000 PAKs by the end of 2015.  Complete upcoming distribution schedule is included below.

Designed by CITYPAK’s exclusive manufacturing partners High Sierra, the custom backpacks provide a secure place for displaced citizens to hold their belongings, and feature a spacious main compartment for a large amount of items, a hide-away poncho designed to keep both the bag and its wearer dry, a ballistic nylon outer shell strong enough to combat the elements, a synch-top closure for extra waterproofing and anti-theft measures.

Recognized by media including CNN “New Day,” MSNBC, Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, and many others, The CITYPAK Project has distributed over 15,000 backpacks in 25+ cities nationwide since its inception in 2012, with additional communities being added each month. This past February, CITYPAK hosted its largest single-city distribution ever in New York City, working with local partners to circulate over 2500 custom made backpacks to New York area homeless.  CITYPAK will return to NYC in February 2016, working with partners Don’t Walk By and Covenant House. View a video from this year’s NYC distributions HERE.

CITYPAK Founder Ron Kaplan explains, “Giving away backpacks isn’t the solution to the complex issue of homelessness facing our country, but it’s something we can do to make a small difference for people in this difficult situation.”

Today, The CITYPAK Project encourages its local distribution partners in each city to create programs that use the donated CITYPAKs as incentives for their homeless clients.  The programs use a voucher system that trades program participation for a CITYPAK, thus encouraging homeless in need to more fully engage with organizations and better utilize the resources available to them.

The public can donate at to provide a CITYPAK to a neighbor in need.

St. Louis Distribution Details:

Saturday, October 10 at 10am
The Bridge Outreach
1610 Olive Street
St. Louis, Missouri 63103
Hosted by The CITYPAK Project and BACK@YOU.

BACK@YOU is looking for volunteers to assist with the distribution.  See HERE for more info.

Additional 2015 CITYPAK Distribution Events, Cities, and Partners

Madison, WI – w/ Friends of the State Street Family
St Louis, MO – w/ BACK@YOU
Detroit, MI – w/ Detroit Action Commonwealth
Toronto, Canada – w/ Homeless Connect Toronto
San Francisco, CA – w/ Housing Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement (HOPE)
Berkeley, CA – w/ The Suitcase Clinic
Chicago, Illinois – w/ Street Medicine (sponsored by Scimetrika)
Portland, OR – w/ Union Gospel Mission
Alexandria, VA – w/ David’s Place/Miriam’s Kitchen
Chicago, IL – w/ Chicago Temple
Chicago, IL – w/ Franciscan Mission
Chicago, IL – w/ Temple Sholom
Chicago, IL – w/ Teen Living Program
Columbia, SC – w/ Good Food. Good Feet. Good Friday.
Detroit, MI – w/ Street Medicine
Glen Ellyn, IL – w/ Dupage PADS
Santa Barbara, CA – w/ Casa Esperanza
Venice, CA – w/ Safe Place for Youth
Williamsport, PA – w/ Sojourner Truth Ministries
Chicago, IL – w/ Catholic Charities
Detroit, MI – w/ Burners w/o Borders
Grayslake, IL – w/ Lake County PADS
Maui, HI – w/ Salvation Army
Maui, HI – w/ Family Life Center

With additional cities being added all the time.

Connect with CITYPAK:

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About The CITYPAK Project:

The CITYPAK Project is a not-for-profit philanthropic organization that works to provide custom designed backpacks to homeless persons in need. Working with exclusive manufacturing partner High Sierra, by the end of 2015 The CITYPAK Project will have distributed over 22,000 PAKs to homeless throughout the United States, including Chicago, IL; New York, NY; St. Louis, MO; Austin, Texas; San Jose and Venice, CA; Portland, OR; Madison, WI; Columbia, SC: Boulder, CO; Maui, HI; and many others.

Founded by Chicago businessman and philanthropist Ron Kaplan in 2012, The CITYPAK Project provides a safe, convenient and versatile backpack uniquely designed to meet the constantly changing needs of the homeless.  Inspired by the simple desire to create something that would make life on the streets of Chicago a little easier, Kaplan shared his idea with the design team at the international adventure travel gear manufacturer High Sierra. Today, with the help of High Sierra and a growing list of corporate and individual donors and a variety of local and regional non-profit partners, The CITYPAK Project distributes CITYPAKs in growing list of cities across the U.S. The ongoing goal: to design and provide a useful, high quality backpack for the homeless.

About High Sierra:

A division of Samsonite LLC, High Sierra designs feature-rich, versatile outdoor lifestyle gear for adventurers everywhere. Since our founding in 1978, we’ve committed ourselves to creating durable, affordable product with distinctive details, delivering the freedom to go anywhere—near or far, on roads or trails, on mountain ridges or snowy slopes, no matter what form your adventure takes. In 2012, High Sierra formed a design partnership with the Chicago-based CITYPAK Project [501(c)(3)] to create purposeful, utilitarian backpacks for the homeless. High Sierra is also proud to be the Official Bags supplier to the U.S. Ski, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing teams. High Sierra. Adventure This Way.


BACK@YOU supplies backpacks to the homeless filled with essentials that help them survive life on the streets. Along with those items, there is a handmade scarf, letting the recipient know that there is kindness, comfort and respect being given to them. Our goal is to make each person on the streets know that they are not invisible, they matter, and they are worthy of warmth, both literally and figuratively. Last year BACK@YOU distributed 20 backpacks, and this year they are set to distribute over 200. Over the next few years, the organizations goal is to do at least two distributions in St. Louis, one in the late fall, another in the late spring. Unfortunately, the need is great.

For more information about BACK@YOU:
Kathy Acre

For more information about The CITYPAK Project:
Carrie Lombardi /