The Backpack Project of southern Oregon 


TEENS TEND TO BE A FORGOTTEN GROUP in the growing homeless situation in our southern Oregon community.

REACHING OUT TO THEM with a “survival kit” was our first idea, providing some basic supplies: flashlight, toiletries, first aid supplies, warm blanket, socks. Then we realized they could also use a backpack and that would be a perfect vehicle for distributing these items, also including basic school supplies.

“I wish you could see the smile on the kids’ faces when I give the backpacks to them. One student was happily looking at each item and when he pulled out the bowl, he said, “Oh good, now I won’t have to share our only bowl with my brother anymore.” It sure does make me step back and appreciate all the little things I take for granted each day.”
–North Valley High School Family Advocate – Merlin, OR


Who Is A Homeless Teen?

–Middle school and high school students living
with their families in shelters, motels, or cars.
–Teens staying with different friends each night.
–Teens on their own with no access to shelters or homes of friends.

How can you help?

Lend a Helping Hand

BECOME PART OF THE TEAM that makes it happen!
Help with SHOPPING or PACKING or DELIVERING the filled packs to schools.
Bring your energy and enthusiasm and ideas to the team of worker bees.


Set Up a Monthly Donation

Sign up for a Recurring Monthly Donation
by simply choosing that option when it shows up in the online donation process.

We appreciate whatever you can give.
You can donate using Paypal or your credit card with the button below:

Donate Button

Sponsor a Backpack

The Backpack Project is a service of the Unitarian Universalists of Grants Pass
and is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, so your donation is tax-deductible.
You will receive a receipt in the mail that includes our tax ID#.
100% of your donation will be used to purchase supplies for the teens.

Click the DONATE button below and donate
$100 for one filled backpack.

Or $200 for two
Or $300 for three…..
Or ANY amount, large or small, that you can afford.

Donate Button


if you prefer you may:

Mail A Check

Make it out to “Homeless Teen Backpack Project” and mail to:
Backpack Project, UUGP,
PO Box 1602, Grants Pass OR 97528

–Be sure to include your name and address.
–You will receive a receipt for your tax-deductible donation.

Write Your Own Personal Message

for the teen that receives the backpack you Sponsor.
We will add it to the card that goes into the filled Backpack, along with your name.
If you prefer to be anonymous, you may do that as well.

Go here to learn about Other Ways To Help

For Comments or questions email us at:


OUR GOAL is to provide these teens with basic necessities to help protect them from the elements, meet their basic hygiene needs, and simply help bolster their self esteem and sense of dignity.

BY DECEMBER 2017, over 560 homeless youth in Oregon’s Josephine and Jackson counties have received a life-supporting backpack filled with crucial items since February 2011, through the Homeless Teen Backpack Project.


EACH BACKPACK CONTAINS a fleece blanket, socks, a zippered kit of toiletries, a first aid kit, a bowl and cup, spoon and fork, duct tape, flashlight, a Mylar blanket, school supplies (in August), healthy snack bars, and many other items.


A FILLED BACKPACK COSTS about $90. We also supply the schools with extra consumable personal hygiene items and socks to have on hand to fill a need during the year.


SOME FUNDING for this project is achieved through grants, and through donations from local businesses, as well as a monthly offering from the UU Fellowship, and the Fred Meyer Community Rewards Program. The generosity of members of the public is crucial to providing help to the growing number of homeless teens.


ONE OF OUR PRIMARY AND MOST LOYAL SUPPORTERS has been Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation.  We are very grateful for all the financial support they have given our homeless teen project over the years. Thank you so much!


IN THIS PHOTO, we have just packed sturdy backpacks that were then distributed to Family Advocates and school counselors at 18 facilities: seven high schools, four alternative schools, five middle schools and two agencies working with homeless teens.


Feedback from Schools:

Grants Pass High School. “This program and these backpacks are so needed and very much appreciated. This is an amazing program, thank you so much for all you do.” Sept. 2015

InnSight Alternative High School. “This really takes pressure off students, as fitting in with peers is so important. Thank you so much for supporting our kids.” Sept. 2015

“Everything that is included not only helps my students at school, but also contributes resources for their home life.” Sept. 2015

Joe’s Place. These backpacks “are awesome to give to a youth who desperately needs one. Your efforts are well worth the time you put in and the backpacks are greatly needed by the youth we work with.” Jan. 2015

Rogue River High School. “Your donation of four backpacks full of basic supplies will surely help homeless youth to stabilize and engage in school.” Oct. 2014

“I do thank you so much for your thoughtfulness, volunteer time, and just plain downright caring for our kids, our future.” May 2011 Anonymous Advocate



Feedback from School Advocates

Feedback from Students

–“I don’t live with my mother as she is unable to care for me, so this really helps me continue to be successful with my life and education.”

–“This is a REALLY epic thing you are doing and I hope you can keep it up!”

–“Knowing that some of the little things are taken care of almost makes me cry!”

–“It is awesome to know that someone not only cares but takes the time to help as well.”

–“Everything helps because I have no money for any of this.”

–“I really appreciate the backpack and the toiletries, it helps quite a lot.”

–“I’m homeless, so the tarp and blanket work well. The art stuff is useful because I love to draw and color.”

–“What is given in this pack will help me continue my life with less stress.”


Feedback from Backpack Recipients