Backpacks 4 FoCo

A project of CSU Hillel at 720 West Laurel Street. Led by Alex Kaye (Hillel) and Abbie deRosa (Sigma).


Mission: Imagine you are walking around in Fort Collins at night in mid-December. You are cold and want to immediately head inside for heat. Imagine not having the luxury of having anywhere to go inside for warmth and shelter. This is a reality for a significant proportion of Fort Collins residents. Since being in Fort Collins, I have noticed that there is a rather large and visible homeless population, with not a lot of help on their side. They endure cold, bitter winters, roaming from place to place in hopes of letting them stay inside. They are the forgotten people of the world and community and they need our help.  As Jews and fellow human beings, it is our duty to repair the world (Tikkun Olam). For me, providing help and support for people struggling in life is what being Jewish is all about. So as to help those who are cold and on the streets, this fall, we will be providing a donation box at Hillel and other locations around town for essential materials (see below). These donations will be packed into a backpack with a group of volunteers at the Hillel house and we will then send them to the Murphy Center to be distributed to those in need.


When: Collecting supplies throughout November with a “packing day” on December 2nd at 6pm



  • All sizes women’s and men’s jackets, sweatshirts, hoodies, fleece, jackets, coats (larger sizes preferred)  The number one size requested is men’s XL (for men and women of all sizes) because it allows people to layer and it allows women to sort of “blend in” and not call attention to themselves as women (as a safety measure).
  • Winter gloves (nylon outer layer for warmth is ideal)
  • Balaclava/face masks, scarves, tightly knit hats/beanies
  • Tarps (smaller sizes best @ 6×8 Light Duty)
  • Hand warmers & foot warmers (“Hot Hands” or similar)
  • Heavy socks- cotton or wool (new or only lightly used)
  • Thermal tops and bottoms/ “long johns”  (Walmart sets a set for $10)
  • Foot powder (Medicated type to prevent infections)
  • Anti-itch cream
  • Backpacks (with and without frames)
  • Rain ponchos, including disposable type
  • Batteries (AA and AAA), flashlights, headlamps and bike lights
  • Hand lotions for extremely dry/cracked skin
  • Tents
  • Sleeping bags (zero degree, ideal)
  • Blankets- fleece or poly/nylon is best, avoid cotton (gets heavy when wet)
  • Winter boots (men’s and women’s)
  • Hygiene Kit (Ziplock bag filled with hotel sized shampoo, conditioner, soap, razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc)


Donations: If location is an issue feel free to support us online and make sure to mention “Backpacks 4 FoCo” in the “In Honor of” section. This will help us purchase handwarmers, and other goods to round out our backpacks.



  • CSU Hillel
  • Other locations will be updated soon