It was Valentines day seven years ago when the first 12 backpacks were taken to a small organization in Grants Pass called LIFT, the only group serving homeless teens here in the winter of 2011. Our Unitarian Universalist’s Fellowship had been collecting food and necessities for this group for some time, but our small team wanted to do something more to help.
We pooled our own personal resources and came up with enough to fill those 12 new backpacks with things we thought would be useful as well as comforting and fun; a warm blanket, socks, rain poncho, bowl and spoon and fork, hygiene and first aid kits, drawing paper and drawing pencils and a frisbee were some of the things we included.
Every three months we got together and filled 12 more packs. The August pack included school supplies.
Not long into the first year LIFT lost it’s funding. Most of the kids we were serving were trying to stay in school, so that was where we turned our focus. After getting the enthusiastic go ahead from the high schools we contacted, we began delivering our packs directly to them to give out to students. The stories the counselors told us were touching and the thank you notes the kids sent were truly heart warming and poignant and kept us motivated to continue.
Seven years and nearly 600 backpacks later – the need is still there. We have gone from filling 48 packs a year to 100 this year. The project now serves 16 high schools, alternative schools, Middle schools including one charter school in Wolf Creek, as well as the Maslow Project and Joe’s Place.
And as with all such volunteer projects we always need more money and people power. If you would like to get involved in any way, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you!
“This is a REALLY epic thing you are doing and hope you can keep it up…”
“What was given in my bag will help me continue my life with less stress.
Knowing that some of the little things are taken care of almost makes me cry.”