Offering New and Innovative Resources: LIFT-Chicago’s Partnership with the CITYPAK Project
This past fall, LIFT-Chicago launched a partnership with the CITYPAK Project, a Chicago nonprofit that distributes durable, theft-resistant, and versatile backpacks to meet the varying needs of the homeless.
The idea for this partnership first began when Director of Programs at LIFT-Chicago, Sol Anderson, saw an article featuring the organization in the publication Timeout Chicago. Sol knew that these backpacks – which have extra layers and closures to prevent water from seeping in, the capability to lock onto one’s body, and a collapsible poncho attached to cover both the bag and the owner – would be an amazing resource for many of LIFT-Chicago’s members. As Sol Anderson notes, “many of our members who are homeless or live in shelters have to face the loss of their belongings on a regular basis, CITYPAKs really help to protect against that. Beyond that though, we always want to partner with organizations that are looking for simple, yet innovative ways to help our most vulnerable neighbors, and we want to be able to provide as many different types of support as we can for our members.” The versatile capabilities of the CITYPAK allow people in constant transition or living on the street, a safer and more convenient way to transport their belongings with them.
As a result of CITYPAK’s generous donation, LIFT-Chicago was able to give 31 of its members an invaluable gift just before the holiday season. LIFT-Chicago staff identified some of its most devoted members currently living in unstable housing or on the streets who would benefit from the CITYPAK bags. In LIFT-Chicago’s Uptown office, 22 CITYPAKs were distributed and 9 in the Pilsen office. Each member who received a backpack was incredibly thankful. Many of them immediately ripped off the packaging, opening up each pocket eagerly peeking inside. Dani Lubin-Levy, a Site Coordinator at LIFT in charge of the CITYPAK distribution, noted “the gratitude each member showed after receiving a backpack was so touching. It was clear that having a new, versatile bag to put all of their belongings in and to ease each move they made was going to make a difference.” Upon their next visit to LIFT, after receiving their bag, members repeatedly thanked the LIFT staff. Elgin, one of the members who received a CITYPAK, remarked that the bag makes his daily life easier. He said, “It has a lot of compartments, a lot of space in it for different things that you need. It has a lot of room for the day-to-day things you might carry with you. It’s been great.” Undoubtedly, through LIFT-Chicago’s collaboration with the CITYPAK Project, we are able to offer new resources to support more of our members and looks forward to continuing this partnership in the future.
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