Backpacks For Life
How Backpacks For Life Began
Eight years ago, Sgt. Brett D’Alessandro returned home from a challenging deployment in Afghanistan and quickly realized how difficult it was to reintegrate back into civilian life. One day he passed a homeless Vet on the side of the road and decided to help. Brett filled a backpack with socks and warming layers and gave it to the Vet, thus beginning a life-changing organization that has now distributed over 9,000 backpacks in 26 states to homeless and at-risk Vets.
Backpacks For Life does more than provide backpacks filled with everyday essentials, they provide coaching and mentorship programs—whatever they can do to help as many Vets as possible dealing with the trauma of coming home and not knowing where to turn. Visit resources here.
“We don’t ever want to say ‘No’.” Brett
Brett and his wife Alexa are dedicated listeners, they want to prevent homelessness not just help homeless Vets. They listen, they don’t talk down to them, they build trust with returning vets and often their spouses, putting them on the same level, the same playing field. Brett explains, “we ask them what they need—a ride to a doctor’s appointment, clothes, a bus pass, or housing for example. We try to fill the gap, to find the answers.” Brett and Alexa work tirelessly but they don’t work alone, they have brought together an entire community of support and plan to help thousands of Vets in the years to come.
How You Can Help
If you see a homeless person, not just a Vet:
- Offer them water or food, not money.
- Hand out a card with the location of a nearby food shelf or shelter.
Vets looking for help, 1-833-BFL-VETS (235-8387) or visit backpacksforlife.org. Check out our recent Military Appreciation Month blog and see ideas on how your company can show gratitude towards those who served and currently in service.