Detroit’s homeless population is often hit hard when the seasons change, especially when the weather starts to get colder. Despite the existence of several shelters and nonprofits in the city that serve the homeless, it’s difficult to meet the needs of the population.

On Thursday, Oct. 15 and Friday, Oct. 16, CITYPAK Project aims to help Detroit’s homeless by distributing backpacks specifically made with the homeless population’s needs in mind.

CITYPAK was founded by Ron Kaplan to alleviate some of the problems faced by the homeless. The organization has partnered with High Sierra to create a backpack that’s durable and high quality.

CITYPAK will distribute the backpacks to six local service agencies that focus on serving Detroit’s homeless population on Thursday, Oct. 15 at 11 a.m. The distribution will take place at Cass Community Social Services, The World Building at 11745 Rosa parks Blvd.

On Friday, the direct distribution begins. Agencies that serve the homeless will hand out the backpacks to those in need on Friday, Oct. 16. The participating organizations and times for the distribution are listed below:

St. Peter and Paul Jesuit Church — 10:30 a.m.
428 St. Antoine St.

St. John Congregational Church — 11:30 a.m.
14320 Kercheval Ave.

St. Leo’s Soup Kitchen — 12:45 p.m.
4860 15th St.

Cass Community Social Services Scott Building — 3 p.m.
11850 Woodrow Wilson

Detroit Rescue Mission — 5 p.m.
3535 Third Street

Kaplan admits that simply handing out backpacks doesn’t get to the root of the issue, but it does attempt to fill an immediate need faced by the homeless population.

“Giving away backpacks isn’t the solution to the complex issue of homelessness facing our country,” says Kaplan. “But it’s something we can do to make a small difference for people in a difficult situation. We plan on coming back to Detroit and having the support of a local business certainly helps with that process. We welcome other Detroit businesses to make a financial commitment to the CITYPAK project for Detroit.”

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