Brews For Backpacks
How did we come up with the idea?
We had a ton of cans piling up in our garage and one day decided that we were going to return them and use the money for something good. Since it was towards the end of November we got the idea to do a campaign encouraging our friends to save their cans after their holiday parties and either drop them off at our house or allow us to come pick them up. The idea for the backpacks came because we knew we wanted to do something for the homeless people in Detroit and we thought we could stuff the packs with cold weather items for the coming months. Hence the name Brews 4 Backpacks.
What did the process look like?
Originally it was just a lot of drumming up interest on social media and using that momentum to interest others in contributing either their cans or cash donations. We made a lot of pick up trips and a lot of trips to our local grocery store’s can depository. We maxed out the capacity of the bottle returner several times and became very familiar with the staff at the store. The next step was planning what we wanted to out in the bags and where we wanted to order everything from. Our friends over at DiscountMugs.com helped out in a huge way by giving us a deal on some sweet backpacks. Our Intern Chris Kopack pretty much took over the inventory ordering process for the supplies and we linked up with Conquest Brighton, MI to help pack the bags. Lastly we reached out to Heart To Hart Detroit and our main man Larry helped Ken and Ryan organize a day to spend with with him passing out lunches with our backpacks. We filmed a bunch of footage along the way and made a recap video that you can find on our YouTube channel.
What did we learn?
There is a lot that could be said here. Spending the day with Larry and H2H was such a profound experience especially because it was viciously cold that day. Here are 3 takeaways that we had from the culmination of this project:
#1 It does get better. We met several people who truly seemed to be at the lowest point a person could possibly get to and even they were able to remain hopeful and positive. A little act of kindness goes a long way and sometimes can even go as far as changing someone's outlook on life.
#2 Always be selfless. We could not get over how caring and thoughtful the homeless were towards us. It was below 0 degrees out and they were the ones that continuously told us to stay warm, stay safe and take care of ourselves. It really shows the brightest sides of humanity when people selflessly look out for the well being of other people with no divisions of class or status in mind.
#3 Never be afraid to ask for help. It’s never easy to ask others for help. Let alone nearly having to survive on it. Most people would be ashamed, scared or embarrassed to ask another human for help. Not only did we encounter many willing to ask for help but even a few that went as far as to ask us if we were hiring. Of course we wish we could of helped everybody out with jobs but showing us that level of self confidence reminded us that confidence is something that can never be taken from you. The value of that gift is completely determined on how you decide to use it, do not take that for granted.
2,000+ cans collected
70 backpacks funded, filled and distributed
Supplies purchased: deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, lotion, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, hats, gloves, hand warmers, chapstick and granola bars