BACK@YOU volunteers are absolutely the best volunteers anywhere! Not only do they register and show up, they show up with friends and family! Those who have volunteered with us before want to share the experience with those they love.
On October 27th we had over 50 volunteers help stuff 500 backpacks. It took less than two and a half hours to get them all done. Next, 300 of the backpacks had to be ready for pick-up by the 10 nonprofits that we have partnered with this year. Americorp, Calvary Missionary, Epworth, Harbor Community Church, Jefferson County Rescue Mission, Paraquad, Places for People, PotBangerz, Restoration House, and Youth in Need will distribute our Citypak Project backpacks during their winter outreach efforts throughout the cold season.
After the 300 backpacks had been picked up, we loaded up a U-Haul with the remaining 200 backpacks for BACK@YOU volunteers to distribute the next day.
Sunday, October 28th was a sunny but windy day and we arrived at the Human Resources building for the City ready to set up in room #1. We had expected about 60 volunteers, but the number had swelled to over 100. The backpacks were unloaded in a very short time, scarves were colorfully displayed through each backpack handle, and hoodies, snacks, and other items were displayed so that our guests could choose items they wanted.
Local news personalities showed up to report on what we were doing. They were shocked by the sheer number and commitment of the volunteers. Our homeless guests were personally guided by our volunteers as they picked out their backpacks, had their personal information written inside, tried on Pink Sheep Heiress sunglasses, and chose brand new hoodies. There was kindness and respect being shown at every turn.
Volunteers return every year, eager to again be part of something they know matters to those who are less fortunate. Each year we have new volunteers who tell us at the end of the day that their lives have been forever changed. We are filled with gratitude for our volunteers who have helped make this event one that is filled with sharing and caring for others. As a result, BACK@YOU will be back next year, and I have a feeling, our volunteers will continue to show up to be part of something that is life-changing for so many.