A Word From Our Team

" I washed the feet of a man who was living at CASS while also working in construction. He told me that he couldn't remember the last time he was given a fresh pair of socks, and that he had to wash his feet in the bathroom whenever he could. He told me that he had just become a grandpa, and that his new socks would take him to New Mexico to be with his family." - Michaela Ingersoll, Unit Leader for bak•pak

"I met a woman who told me that she dreamed of becoming a truck driver. She said if she was able to drive a semi, she could sleep in it and would never feel homeless. She told me it was her first day at CASS and she was scared. She began to cry. We hugged, and I told her that she was strong and could accomplish anything. She left my feet cleaning station with hope in her eyes." - Michaela Ingersoll, Unit Leader for bak•pak

"Recounting on the last event, my heart felt so full. At our first event, I washed the feet of an older gentleman. He talked about his past and how he used to box. I related to him saying that I boxed as well. We shook hands, our palms touching and our handshake in a vice grip. He said my grip was strong for a young lady. At our second event, I had the pleasure to see this man again. We shook hands and he said, 'it is so nice to see you again.'" - Casey Hubbard, Chief of Staff for bak•pak

What It Means To Be Homeless

Kevinn Tran, a student at Arizona State, made a beautiful documentary of what it means to be homeless in Tempe, AZ. We wanted to share this video to help gain awareness of those who are homeless & misunderstood. Please watch and help us, help those struggling with homelessness, make a come·bak.

Our Story

In August of 2015 Vivienne began working as an Emergency Room scribe for an inner city hospital.  There have been many encounters where a homeless man has come in wearing hospital socks from his last visit that are covered in holes. Or he will come in with an extravagant story that lists symptom after symptom, when really all he seeks is a sandwich, or a warm place for the night. Initially, she did not think there was much more she could do than to slip him a few extra hospital sandwiches and juice boxes.

One of the classes Vivienne chose to enroll in during the 2015 fall semester was Public Speaking. For our final project we were assigned a seven-minute persuasive speech. The title of her speech was "Give a man your jacket, not your dollar". After spending weeks writing a speech that’s purpose was to convince the audience to give items of survival and not dollars, she had come to the realization that there was more she could do.

Attending the downtown ASU campus, Vivienne is surrounded by the homeless population on a daily basis. After two years of walking by the same homeless man downtown she decided to stop and offer to buy him a cup of coffee from the shop he was standing outside of. He was bundled in a dirty blanket, and under his hat she could see his weathered skin. He replied no to her offer but did ask for a bottle of coca-cola. Instead of going into the coffee shop she stepped into the mini market next door and bought him four bags of groceries. When she came back out, Vivienne asked if he had a bag to pack them into and he said no. Being friends with the lady inside the market, Vivienne stepped back in and asked if the employee would give her a reusable grocery bag.

The reusable bag She handed him to put his groceries into was the first kind thing another human had done for him in a long time. He was shocked and could not stop saying thank you and smiled with the few teeth he had.

A few weeks later (the week of finals) Vivienne was sitting at an outside table trying to figure out an organic chemistry problem. As she looked up, there was Stewart crossing the street, so proudly carrying his bag.

The purpose of this organization is to engage college students within the community; to create these "back-packs" and give those on the streets a second chance. We hope that with each bak·pak given, we will inspire someone on the road to move forward, and to make a come·back in society.