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Good People, Good Work

Backpacks For The Street: Bringing Hope to the Homeless

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In today’s episode, we will travel to New York City in the United States of America, where we will meet a couple who has been giving out backpacks filled with hope and care to thousands of homeless people. In December 2020, there were 56,849 homeless men, women and children in New York City; this is about 14% of all homeless people in America. Many are using the municipal shelter system, but thousands still live on the streets without adequate protection from the elements. Thankfully, there are many goodhearted people and charitable organizations whose mission is to comfort these souls, help them to feel noticed and bring them love and happiness through material and emotional help.

Backpacks For The Street was founded in February 2018 by the couple Jeffrey Newman and Jayson Conner. Jeffrey says: “This is about hope. This is about showing people who feel invisible and forgotten about that they matter and that someone cares.” The first Backpacks For The Street event took place in March 2018. This outreach effort, which was funded within 72 hours, resulted in the distribution of 75 backpacks filled with daily necessities.

Initially, the plan was to distribute the backpacks on a quarterly basis, but it was so clear that the project was making a difference in many lives that the couple decided to do it daily throughout the year. Mr. Newman shared, "We’re very happy to be doing it; it’s a labor of love." On one day, the group walked nearly 130 kilometers over the span of 16 hours to find those in need.

Mr. Newman, Mr. Conner and the volunteer team bring not only physical comfort to the homeless, but they also touch their hearts by showing them that they are acknowledged, cared for and loved. Supreme Master Ching Hai: “Thankfully present the Shining World Compassion Award to Backpacks For The Street, plus a humble, loving contribution of US$10,000 to support this benevolent endeavor, with all love, gratitude and best wishes, in Heaven’s grace.”

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