As we work to finalize the details for our next distribution, I want to reflect on an amazing thing that has contributed to one of the biggest improvements in our backpacks for this year. We received a $3,500.00 grant from the Jewish Fund for Human Needs. For a nonprofit of our size, this makes a real impact. Last year our board decided that instead of distributing more backpacks, we wanted to make upgrades to the 400 we already planned to do. This grant helped us do that.

The heavy hoodies that each recipient got last year were very nice, but they were the type of hoodies that go over the head. When you live on the streets in the winter, layers are crucial to getting and staying warm, and hoodies that zip are easier to layer. Unfortunately, the zippered ones were more expensive. This grant made it possible to get them this year.

The rest of the grant went for 18-hour body/hand warmers, six of them in every backpack. These could actually save the life of someone living on the streets this winter. If someone with mental illness is terrified of the idea of going into an emergency shelter, they may be able to stay warm enough to make it through a frigid night. If someone has a partner that wouldn’t be able to be in the same shelter and chooses instead to stay on the street, they could cuddle up and stay warm enough to figure something out the next day. If someone has a pet that is the last bit of love and companionship they have in the world, they might stay close together and keep each other warm enough to come up with a plan in the morning.

We are grateful to the Jewish Fund for Human Needs for what they have done to make a difference in the lives of the homeless neighbors that BACK@YOU cares so much about.

BACK@YOU sees the homeless, and we’ve got their backs, and the Jewish Fund for Human Needs has ours.