Back Packs of Hope was started by Shelly Septer in memory of her 21 year old son Zach who helped the homeless in Ft. Wayne before his accidental drowning. Over 1,000 people attended his funeral including homeless and homeless advocates. The family wanted to continue to help the homeless community. For more information the website is http://www.backpacksofhope.org/.
Jim and Cathy Matthews read about the organization in the Fort Wayne newspaper when they were home at Easter. It touched a place deep in their hearts since their son Jacob, who is 21, is currently without a permanent home, due to mental illness.
People without permanent homes often go without the basic necessities most Americans take for granted. In the struggle to find food and a safe place to sleep, they find it difficult to acquire basic items such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, and toothbrushes. Without the right supplies, simple hygienic activities such as brushing their teeth or washing their hands can prove to be a challenge.
People without permanent homes may be living on a friends couch, on the sidewalks, in a vehicle, abandoned buildings, tent communities or at a shelter.
In the United States alone, an estimated 1.75 million people experience homelessness each year which include families, veterans and others.