All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being, not just with my hands, but with my heart ~Tahereh Mafi
When my brother was nine and I was six, our Mom asked to come up with an idea which would keep us busy over the summer and help other people, my brother and I set to work to figure out what we wanted to do. Soon after, we decided we wanted to pack backpacks full of back to school supplies for kids at the back to school time.
After deciding we wanted to pack 1,000 that summer, our Mom helped my brother and turn it into a reality. We wrote letters and left follow-up, after-hours voicemails for CEO’s and managers of a number of companies. To our surprise, we got a lot of enthusiastic, promising responses.
Before we could even believe what was happening, loads of sponsors like Wal-Mart, Kraft,Bic and Nike had joined in and donated a thousand backpacks, sweaters, snack packs, treats, pencils, pens, erasers and more. The four of us (my little brother and Mom joined in too) took the backpacks and walked around our dining room table, systematically dropping one of each item in.
Through it all, countless media outlets had caught wind of it and dropped by to talk to us.
At just age six and nine we were on TV, and the newspaper, and the radio! Weeks later, and countless laughs and hours of smiling later, Daily Bread Food Bank came by and picked the 1,000 backpacks. By the end of the project, about 10,000 backpacks had been filled with about $1 million in donated supplies. Four years well spent.
The experience was so amazing – only made better when we actually got to meet one of the families who had gotten the backpacks. The one thing that will stick forever was how grateful for something that, at the time, I would’ve completely taken for granted.