Knapsack Project 2022

For the last eleven years, we have handed out generously filled backpacks to the men and women who are our guests at lunch. The men and women we see daily are rarely remembered at Christmas. For many, these backpacks were their only presents. There were always lots of smiles on Backpack Day at the soup kitchen.

Sadly, due to COVID, we can’t celebrate our Backpack Giveaway in our usual way for a third holiday season. Last Christmas we retooled our effort and filled knapsacks for our guests. We gave red knapsacks to women, green to men, and polka-dotted and striped knapsacks to children. The giveaway was a festive holiday surprise for our guests; about 600 were distributed.

We plan to fill knapsacks with essential items including toiletries, hats, gloves, and scarves. We will hand out the knapsacks from the front door just as we hand out hot meals every day. We are once again asking for your help to fill the knapsacks.

Donations of toiletries such as deodorant, hand lotion for hands chapped by the cold, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, shaving cream, razors, Chapstick, etc. are needed. We want to add cold weather items such as gloves, hats, and scarves. We would like to also include a small treat such as candy bars, chips, etc. Since the backpacks are a Christmas gift, all items should be new.

We hope to collect all that we need from Nov.14 through Dec. 9. Items can be dropped off at Daily Bread, 116 N. First Street, Champaign, from 9 a.m. to 12 P.M. every day. Please use the back door on the alley when dropping off items. Donations can also be dropped off at Ellen Harms’ (705 S. Elm Blvd. 356-2551) at Pam Hagle’s (713 S. Elm Blvd. 359-3245) or at Ruthann Evans’ (4414 Crossgate Dr. 398-5687). Tax forms will be available. And don’t forget to wear your mask!

We are extremely grateful to everyone who participated in past Backpack Giveaways and last year’s Knapsack Giveaway. Thank you for bringing some of the joy and magic of the season to the guests at Daily Bread during still another very difficult year.

If you have any questions, please call or e-mail Ellen at 356-2551 or