Thank You Backpack Team!

Volunteer from Joe’s Place accepting 6 backpacks from UU Backpack Team!

By Karen Rogers

We had a great turnout on Backpack Packing Day and I couldn’t have been more proud! Altogether, we had seventeen happy hard workers! Thank you Darlene Leach, Lee Ann Stoner, Constance Palaia, Parker Scaroni, Willamina Wise, Charles Rogers, Susan Barrett, Marc Mason, Nancy Mason, Camille Korsmo, Ann Igl, Diane Adams, Bertie Foltz, Christie Nelson, Mike Nelson, and David Sligar!

We planned to pack 60 backpacks – more than we ever attempted before at one time – thinking we would have enough backpacks to last for the next packing as well. However, when I called all the schools and agencies to see what they needed, they really wanted all the backpacks we could spare. Additionally, Illinois Valley Alternative Center called a couple of days later requesting six more backpacks (which I packed from home). That makes 65 backpacks that our teams, including Marc and Nancy Mason, Karen and Chas Rogers, Constance Palaia, and Bertie Foltz delivered to places as far south as Cave Junction, as far north as Wolf Creek, and as far west as Rogue River.

Besides schools and alternative schools, Joe’s Place and Gospel Rescue Mission also have need of backpacks. One of the volunteers at Gospel Rescue Mission said that some of their teens who enter the family side with their mothers come with just the shirts of their backs and need everything. Pictured above is a volunteer at Joe’s Place, who was all smiles when we showed up with six backpacks for them.

Thanks again to everyone who helped with the December backpack packing. I will be gone most of January, May, and June and wanted to be sure we did a year’s worth of packing in one day. It was strenuous but we had so much help that we got done packing, then setting the room back up for the next day’s service, in only 2 ½ hours.

Join the December Backpack Packing!

Homeless Teen Backpack Team
and Friends are Packing on

Saturday, December 8th

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

UU Fellowship Grants Pass
129 NW E St, Grants Pass, OR 97526

We are packing 60 backpacks (a huge accomplishment!)
so we won’t have to pack the rest of the year.

Please Come and Help!

Delivering Backpacks to the Schools


From the March Backpack Delivery to Schools in Josephine County

Terry Procknow from Lincoln Savage Middle School happily receiving 2 filled backpacks along with blankets and a bag of supplies that are used up quickly, such as shampoo, razors, toothpaste, etc.

Happy report from the Homeless Teen Backpack Project


Pre-Packing Party team!

Nine people came to the pre-packing party on Thursday March 8. We opened bundles of merchandise and separated items into school kits, hygiene kits and first aid kits. We set up snack bundles and silverware bags. Cards were signed and letters were folded and enveloped stuffed. Everyone shared in disposing the oodles of packaging material. The whole process took about one and one half hours with lots of talking, laughing and good fun.

10-backpackDayOn Saturday thirteen people chipped in to help fill the 34 backpacks. Starting at 10:30, it took over an hour to set up and organize the packing tables. Then at 1:00, more people showed up and we spent about an hour and a half to fill the backpacks, break down empty cardboard boxes and put the room back in order. The set up time had the normal order and disorder, along with a bit of very friendly teasing. The actual packing went very smoothly because of extra preparation.

Best of all we met seven new people who stopped by to help after seeing our notice on the website. We shared some of the principles and philosophy of the Unitarian Universalists and invited them back to share more with us.

Thanks to everyone who made this project fun and successful, this week and throughout the school term. Watch for more notices later in the year.

Trudy Dobsyn

Note: All the wonderful photos of Packing Day were taken by James Ronan – a new friend to our project.  Thank you Jim!


Pre-Packing Day – March 2018


Pre-packing Team – Bertie Foltz, Judy Fitzgerald, Phil Hughes-Luing, Trudy Dobsyn, Nancy Yonker, Willa Warren, Carol Goss, and Karen Rogers (taking the picture) and Ann Igl (also not in photo)

Getting all ready for Packing Day today!

A day or so ahead of each big Backpack Packing Day a group gets together to package up the sturdy zippered canvas Hygiene bags, the First Aid bags and School Supplies so they are ready to just slip into the Backpacks.  Thanks Team!

An Opportunity to Give Something Back…


Judy and Maureen getting things set up for a Packing Day

Are you newly retired and looking for something worthwhile to do with some of your time – that time when you aren’t reading a good book or puttering in your garden? Are you new to the area and looking for something that will connect you to other nice folks in the area? If you live in the “greater” Grants Pass area of southern Oregon and have an interest in doing something to help kids – homeless kids – The Backpack Project might be just the thing! You can read more about The Project on our website –

Here are a few of the things that are done 3 times a year – in August, in late November and in March:

  • Shop for supplies for the packs – online and locally
  • Help to set up and participate in three Pre-packing parties for assembling Hygiene kits, first aid kits and school supplies, among other things.
  • Help set up and work three main Packing Parties for filling the Backpacks
  • Help to deliver the filled packs to 18 different schools and agencies
  • Keep track of Inventory
  • Fundraise – explore possibilities for involving others in supporting the Project in creative ways.   Apply for grants.
  • Photography – take pictures of the people and events for use on the website/blog/Facebook pages and for news articles and other publicity.

You will be working with and getting to know other friendly, caring folks, doing something for kids in the community who need a helping hand. That seems like a nice way to spend a few hours each year, don’t you think?

If you would like to know more or get involved, email or go to the website at

March Backpack Packing Day!


We are coming up to the March Backpack Packing Day! We will be packing 34 packs this time so we are hoping for a big turn out of happy worker bees to lovingly fill those bags. The number of schools needing bags has grown to 16 and we give bags to the Maslow Project and Joe’s Place as well.

It’s a pleasant time – a nice time to meet new folks and do some good at the same time! It rarely takes more than two hours – often only one and you get the pleasure of being involved in a loving, open hearted activity.

Time – Saturday March 10, 2018 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Place – The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at 129 NW E Street, Grants Pass, OR

For more information email


Some of our happy teen “worker bees”!

Ongoing Way To Help # 2


Try a Recurring Monthly Donation

Now that I live on social security I find it easier to give a more substantial donation to groups that I want to support, by setting up small RECURRING MONTHLY donations. The Backpack Project has Donate buttons on the website and the Facebook page. When you click on the button you will go to a window where you can choose to use either to Paypal or your credit/debit card and a place to choose “Make this a monthly donation”.

I like using Paypal because I don’t have to fill out credit/debit card information each time I give or buy something.  But if you prefer to, you can.  For a Recurring Monthly Donation you just check the box next to “Make this a monthly donation.” on the page you go to after you click the Donate button. Then choose the “Donate with Paypal” button or the “Donate with a Credit/Debit card” button.  If you need to change the amount of the monthly donation in the future you can log in to your account and change it easily.

The beauty of the Recurring Monthly Donation is that you can give as little as $5 or $10 a month if that’s all you can manage, and it will still add up to a decent donation by the end of the year.

The recurring monthly donation helps small volunteer-run organizations like The Backpack Project to know what funds we will have to work with for the upcoming year. Knowing that we have money we can count on is wonderful! And it saves you time and effort. You only need to do it once and you can forget it for the year.

Donate Button


Ongoing Way To Help # 1

If you ever shop at Fred Meyer stores this is an utterly painless way to help our Backpack Project.  You still get your regular Rewards points, and Fred Meyer donates to our cause.


LINK YOUR FRED MEYER REWARD CARD to the UUGP Homeless Teen Backpack Project through the Fred Meyer Community Rewards Program.

    • Customers can link their Rewards Card to the Homeless Teen Backpack Project. Customers will continue to receive Rewards Points, Rebates and Fuel Points.
    • At the end of each quarter, Fred Meyer will make a donation to the Project based on the accumulated spending of the Rewards customers linked to each nonprofit.

The non-profit number for the UUGP Homeless Teen Backpack project is #87987.
Go here for more information and to sign up: Fred Meyer Community Rewards


The Herb Pharm Salve Story


When we first put together the Backpack Project one of the things we wanted to do was create a basic First Aid Kit for it. Since many of the teens would be carrying the pack around with them wherever they went, the items we added needed to be especially useful as well as in a form that would be tough and unbreakable and un-spill-able. For several years I had been using a basic Herb Pharm Salve for any sort of cut or small wound and since it came in a small tin it struck me that it might be the perfect thing. Except that it cost nearly $10!


It just happened that this amazing herbal remedy company began it’s life right nearby in Williams OR, where they reside still.

“In 1979, Ed Smith walked into Powell’s the day before he was to move to southern Oregon with his wife, Sara Katv. In what now seems like divine intervention, the bookstore had just acquired the library of a deceased local pharmacist and had stacks of dusty, faded pharmacopoeias, formularies, and herbals for sale. Smith—now known as “Herbal Ed” in natural medicine circles—bought the lot. The couple headed to tiny, unincorporated Williams, in the hills near Medford, and began bottling and selling locally-harvested tinctures with the hand-applied label Herb Pharm.

36 years later, what started as an herb garden and a casual trade among local “Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, and hippies,” as Smith puts it, has turned into a veritable herb empire encompassing more than 100 acres of farmland.”

Courtesty of PDX Monthly   By Katelyn Best


Because it was such a perfect match for the Backpacks I thought I would call them and see if they could help us in some way. They did better than that! For nearly seven years they have donated the Herbal Salve for every backpack we have filled!

Thank you Herb Pharm for your wonderful generosity all these years. We love you!