The pandemic has been a trying time for all, but especially those who do not have a permanent roof over their heads.
That’s why Backpacks for the Streets, run by New York couple Jeffrey Newman and Jayson Conner, have been working extra hard to make sure the homeless populations among us are cared for as well.
Though the non-profit organization started in 2018, they consider themselves essential workers and have been working throughout the pandemic to distribute safety items to those in need.
“As an ‘essential service,’ we are on the front lines of the pandemic providing COVID fighting supplies to the homeless,” their website reads. “The homeless are among the most vulnerable to infection; yet they are the least assisted. We are committed to assisting the homeless by providing COVID supplies, including hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes, masks and gloves, along with our packs of food, toiletries and life necessities, during the pandemic.”
According to an interview with Fox, they have handed out more than 10,000 backpacks, 200 gallons of hand sanitizer and 18,000 masks to New Yorkers in need since the start of the pandemic on March 13. Backpacks are filled with everyday items like food, toiletries, emergency blankets, sewing kits, feminine hygiene products, and more.
Newman and Conner say what makes BFTS different is that they don’t just drop bags off and leave. Instead, they make sure themselves (and their team of volunteers) greet the person, and engage in a conversation with them.
“It can be very lonely living on the street,” Conner shares on their website, and was homeless himself for two years when he and Newman first met 16 years ago. “Many of the homeless are grateful that someone sees them as a person and treats them as if they matter.”
“When you take time to smile and offer a kind word,” says Newman. “It means more than you might realize.”
You can help their mission by donating here or volunteering with them here.
featured image source: Instagram / @BackpacksfortheStreet