Easing the Burden of Homelessness in Georgia
Easing the burden of homelessness, one backpack at a time.
Homelessness is a major public health issue that goes largely unaddressed, and almost all homeless people are (1) Suffering from a mental disability, (2) Dealing with substance or alcohol abuse issues, or (3) Dealing with a catastrophic financial setback (lost a job, incurred large medical bills, etc.). Regardless of which of these three groups they may fall in, every homeless person is truly in need of support. The Backpack Project (TBP) services members from all three groups, and works to combat and redress the reality that homeless people categorically receive minimal representation and assistance from our communities.
The Backpack Project - a student-founded and student-run 501(c)(3) organization - would use the $25,000 to assemble and hand-deliver more than 1,650 backpacks filled with food, clothes and toiletries to the homeless in both Athens and Atlanta, Georgia. The backpacks are made for less than $20 each and contain more than 35 essential supplies. In addition to offering much-needed provisions, TBP's staff strives to develop personal relationships with the homeless when hand-delivering each backpack. The Backpack Project is run entirely by students at the University of Georgia who donate their time and are passionate about serving those less fortunate in their communities. TBP measures its impact through the 1,150 people who have already received homeless care backpacks from TBP and by how effectively the individual needs of each person who receives a backpack are met. If awarded this grant, the homeless in Georgia will be the beneficiaries.
The long-term impact on the communities served by TBP can be measured in two ways. The first, tangible impact is seen in the number of homeless people who receive a backpack. TBP recently handed a backpack to a homeless man who - after looking through it - said, "This is a blessing... the sun is already shining and y'all make it shine that much brighter." This grant would allow TBP to expand further and make "the sun shine brighter" for an additional 1,650 individuals. TBP's long-term goal is to equip every homeless person in Georgia with the supplies they need, so they can pursue better opportunities and break the cycle of homelessness. The second, intangible benefit stems from the fact that TBP empowers students to act and make a difference in their communities. Through their efforts, these students prove that each of us can enrich the lives of others and make our world a better place for all.