About Us

The Backpack Project is a nonprofit organization working in local communities to fight against homelessness.

About Us

The Backpack Project is a nonprofit organization working in local communities to fight against homelessness.

9-year-old founder, Ryan Gustis, was inspired to help after seeing a woman sitting with a sign that said, “I’m not a bad girl, I just made a bad choice.”

He soon realized that this woman’s struggles were not out of the ordinary. Now, Ryan and the entire organization are working for a world where dignity and kindness are hand-delivered in the form of a backpack full of supplies.

Learn how Ryan’s desire to help others kick-started a fight against homelessness and how you can #PackTheKindness.

One backpack. $50 worth of supplies. Endless opportunities.

What Do We Pack?

  • Socks (a few pairs)
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Scarf
  • Blanket
  • Tarp
  • Hand warmers
  • Wipes
  • Lip Balm
  • Tissues (travel size)
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo and Conditioner (travel size)
  • Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Soap or Body wash
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Comb or Brush
  • Food/Donated Snacks
  • Bottled Water
  • $10 Gift Card to easily accessible restaurant (such as McDonald’s, Subway, Dunkin’)
  • Feminine care products (as appropriate)
  • Small First Aid Kit
  • Small Flashlight
  • Poncho
  • Face mask
  • Pet food/supplies (as needed)

Thank you for donating items to The Backpack Project.

Please indicate below for the pick-up or drop-off of your items. Your donation is helping fight homelessness and we appreciate your support!

1 + 7 =

Where Have We Delivered?

Naperville, IL

Lisle, IL

Oak Brook, IL

Aurora, IL

Lombard, IL

Bolingbrook, IL

Oak Park, IL

Des Plaines, IL

Darien, IL

Westmont, IL

Cincinnati, OH

Columbus, OH

Price Hill, OH

Norwood, OH

Portsmith, OH

Covington, KY

Bradenton, FL

South Bend, IN

Indianapolis, IN

Los Angeles, CA

Milwaukee, WI

Spreading Kindness One Backpack at a Time

The Backpack Project is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Donations made to The Backpack Project are tax-deductible. Many employers offer a contribution-matching program.