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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Backpacks for Life Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Homeless & Housing, Homeless Centers, Human Services, Military & Veterans Organizations, Veterans

Mission: Backpacks For Life's mission is to provide homeless, low income and at risk veterans and their families with things they cannot provide for themselves. Through peer-to-peer mentorship, distributing backpacks filled with daily & long term essentials and linking veterans with resources, our goal is to get veterans and their family back to living their best life!

Results: To date, we have handed out over 7,500 backpacks to homeless veterans in need by attending Stand Down events, working with other veteran organizations across the country and visiting local homeless shelters where we get to know veterans and give them the support they need. We also connect with local police officers who we equip with our backpacks in the event that they work with homeless veterans. We are also contacted by individual veterans when they are in need of help and we send them a backpack full of resources.

Target demographics: homeless, low income and at risk veterans and their families

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1,200 homeless veterans

Geographic areas served: the tri-state area primarily, but have helped veterans across the country!

Programs: backpacks, full of daily essentials such as toiletries, daily essentials and resource information which will help them get the care that they and their family need.

Community Stories

62 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Backpacks For Life is an excellent organization filled with caring people. They have an amazing purpose and and it's impressive to see the positive impact these people make in their communities. They have several different ways to donate or volunteer or even get some great merchandise to help support them. In these times a small kindness can mean a lot to someone, join the cause!

Jason A.8

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a phenomenal organization lead by some of the best people you will ever meet. I've attended many of their golf outings, and we always had a great time with great people. We need to raise awareness for homeless veterans, and help them in every way possible. Support BPFL and support our troops!!!

Darren M.1

Board Member

Rating: 5

This organization is amazing. Brett and Alexa are both selfless in terms of giving time and resources to a community - frankly, that is the most underserved in our country. Veterans are in need and we do not do what we should as a nation. These men and women risked everything for our freedoms and Backpacks for Life gives so much back. The basic necessities provide a platform of integrity that is given back to veterans in need during their time of struggle. I am proud and honored to sit on the board of this non-profit and honestly, it's probably the most amazing thing that I am a part of (outside of my own family). Business has given me an opportunity to lend my hand to this cause and I will continue to do so.

Board Member

Rating: 5

My name is Terrell Washington. I have been working with BFL (Backpacks For Life) for about a year and a half. The work That Brett and Alexa have been doing before and even during Covid has been amazing. The team they organized are so unique and stellar that I too had the pleasure of becoming a board member. I have worked with a lot of non-profits, but this one is special to my heart by myself being a veteran. I look forward to help push the mission and help assisting each and every veteran.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Their passion for helping veterans is unparalleled to anything I have seen in anyone working to help those in need. Their passion drives them to excellence. Very proud!!!

Gene S.4

Donor

Rating: 5

Backpacks for Life is a highly effective, hands on, ground based charity operation that is doing real work in ending veteran homelessness. Brett and Alexa have taken an innovative approach to the problem and have experienced many successful outcomes do to their efforts.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have known Brett since he was a teenager. He is a fine young man, a patriot who served our country and is passionate about helping vets. This is a wonderful non-profit that provides needed support to our vets. It's a great organization that serves those that served us!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Brett and Alexa are so passionate about helping homeless and at risk veterans get back on their feet. Sadly our veterans are often overlooked in our society but Brett an Alexa have made it their mission to ensure that this overlooked population Is treated with the respect and dignity that they so richly deserve. Volunteering with them as part as our son’s Eagle Scout project was truly an honor.

1 Jamie D.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being a retired Marine, I quickly recognized the leadership, motivation and passion that Brett displayed the moment he knew I was asking for support in getting masks for the homeless and at-risk veterans in my state. Not only did he go out of his way with helping me quickly obtain masks, he shared with me about his BFL program; and I was immediately on board and ready to move forward in helping more veterans in my state with the BFL project. My organization welcomed this idea as our new mission for the coming holiday season so we can provide some daily essentials to the homeless veterans in our area. A backpack is a key resource that every veteran knows is essential to survive; and oftentimes feels like "home" as it is a familiar connector to our identity with purpose that all service men and women have while serving our country. Transitioning back home from active duty isn't easy to embrace as we all must rediscover our own identities and purpose. I'm very proud of Brett and his team and very excited to be partnering with them going forward with something that is relevant and meaningful to myself and to my fellow veterans.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hands-down THE most passionate and effective non-profit around. Relentless in their quest to spread good and help people get back on their feet in a dignified way. I can think of no group more worthy of support.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Backpacks for life is outstanding. They give back so much the the community and it’s great to see people helping others in need

2 Johnny R.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Backpacks for life is an amazing organization. They assisted our non-profit with backpacks for our veteran retreat. They do great work for the homeless community as well. Looking forward to continuing to work with backpacks for life. Great people with an amazing cause.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Brett and Alexa go over and beyond to help homeless veterans.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Backpacks For Life is one of the organizations that is more than transparent when it comes to what they do, where their materials go, and who it's going to. They are very involved in their community, and you can tell they really care about who they're helping. It's refreshing to see an organization like this one genuinely caring and giving back. Alexa and Brett are two wonderful people and they go above and beyond with everything that they do for Backpacks for Life.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Backpacks for Life is such a wonderful organization. Brett, Alexa and their team have such big hearts and really are special people. The love and compassion they show for our veterans is truly unbelievable. They work so hard day in and day out and have touched many lives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Brett and Alexa have such a genuine passion for helping veterans in need. It was a no brainer to help pitch in for such an excellent cause.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What an amazing nonprofit and thank you Brett and Alexa for caring, bringing awareness, and supporting such a great cause.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After volunteering at a casino night, it was inspiring to see how dedicated Brett and Alexa are to this mission.

Mike P.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I contacted brett with no hope left for help for me and my kids . Wow did he change my mind on the help that is available! He not only helped us out like i never imagined but had the right resources to continue to help us out by placing us with the right organizations. And then continued to follow up making sure the ball was rolling if they did not act or act quick enough he was rite there on the phone asking why and making them move or finding other avenues by far the best organization out there ! Thank you again for helping us back off hard times

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a non-profit unlike many I have experienced. If you were to ask Brett or Alexa how much revenue they pull in, or how much they would need to make if this ever turned into a for-profit, they probably won't be able to tell you. They measure their success in each and every letter that is sent to them from a veteran they helped. They truly just care about helping veterans from the minute they wake to the minute they fall asleep. I have seen them change peoples lives right before my eyes. I think this may be one of the most influential services in the veteran market right now.

ericsoler

Donor

Rating: 5

I absolutely love what this organization is doing. They are filling a void that is often overlooked; homeless veterans. #welldone #nicework

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering with this organization since its inception and truly seen the care and effort they put into working with each veteran they serve. The team works hard to ensure the veterans are taken care of - from grassroots to a nationally recognized organization, they are the true definition of a thriving nonprofit who gives back to others. Proud to volunteer with them!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Backpacks For Life has a unique and inventive approach to helping provide lasting support to our heroes who now need help. By offering fully loaded backpacks with supplies for both men and women in mind, they help ease the burden of spending a night out on the streets. It is unimaginable that these men and women, who have put their lives on the line, must encounter such hardships well after their time of service. Fortunately, BFL has built an effective program to get our heroes back on their feet and on the road towards happy, fulfilling lives.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I saw a segment that MSNBC (The Morning Joe) did on Backpacks For Life and was so moved by it that I felt that I had to leave a review. BFL works day in and day out to ensure that no veteran is left behind and that the homeless veteran population has the necessities they require to live day to day as comfortably as possible. To Backpacks For Life, homeless and at-risk veterans are people, not numbers and I am so happy that there are people out there like the BFL team dedicated to doing this very important work.

1 Donnie J.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Backpacks for Life is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded by a disabled combat veteran and his significant other.

Through charitable donations, we produce a 13-claim patent pending backpack that is designed to help homeless veterans survive on the streets.

1 PocketSquareHeroes

Donor

Rating: 5

We finally connected with Backpacks for Life, even though we are right down the street each other but as soon as we did we connected. They are always out doing great things for homeless veterans. Within seconds of speaking with Bret or Alexa, you will feel their deep passion and their desire to go to all heights to make a difference. We are excited to support them in many of their upcoming events and are honored by their friendships.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is an amazing nonprofit! Their mission and concept will truly help other veterans. Very genuine and set to make a difference! I support this nonprofit 100% Keep it up Backpacks for Life!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Last year BP4L partnered with Liquid Church where I go to church and we walked along side BP4L and packed 2,700 backpacks. What an awesome experience that was. Check out https://vimeo.com/255928226 for a recap.

Watching Brett and Alexa serve the veterans and to hear their stories of how they tirelessly advocate for those that fight for our country is beyond humbling! Thank you BP4L for all that you do and for the change you make in the lives of veterans.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered a few times to pack backpacks. Brett’s energy and compassion “to give back” and support our veterans is beyond measure. Backpacks For Life is on a 24/7 mission to help veterans in every phase of their lives to survive the rigors of life. Kudos to Brett, Alexa & volunteers for continued success.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have had the honor to be impacted by Backpacks For Life and the extremely dedicated staff. I highly recommend them to any Veteran in need.

Amy D.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Backpacks For Life is a vital asset to our Veteran community. The individuals who run it are some of the most genuine, caring people I have ever met. The lives they have changed and are changing is extraordinary!!!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

It was a true honor to work with Brett and Alexa. They work tirelessly to give our homeless U.S. veterans a well-deserved new chance at life. These vets are the same people that risked THEIR lives for us. Backpacks for Life deserve more than just recognition for all they do.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I’ve had the pleasure of attending multiple events held by Backpacks for life, and I could not hold them in a higher regard. They put so much effort and care into their work, and it really shows. Brett and Alexa are truly a remarkable team. I look forward to attending more of their events in the near future! Thank you Backpacks for Life, for everything you do to make the world a more fair place, to those who have served and are less fortunate.

2 Craig C.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Backpacks for life was something that I never thought would grow to be this big. An idea talked about by Brett with me and a few friends just hanging out on the deck turned into one of the greatest non profit organizations for veterans I have ever seen. Brett ran with his idea to help homeless vets and his passion for helping them is what has driven this organization into such success. I helped pack backpacks for the first event Backpacks for life attended. Random assortments of donated backpacks by friends and friends of friends with simple necessities for hygiene and comfort. Now Brett is designing and patenting a specialized bag for the cause. This organization, in my eyes is the most benificial for all veterans out there. Those that are homeless receive so many services and those veterans who are fortunate enough to be able to, can help and volunteer to give back to their brothers and sisters who are having a hard time after discharging. Backpacks for Life is amazing. Brett you’re doing a great job man, I’m so proud of you and can’t believe this has turned into what is has. I love you brother. Keep up the great work!

2

Advisor

Rating: 5

Backpacks For Life works tirelessly every day to ensure that our veterans are taken care of. From changing tires to getting an HVAC system donated and installed for free, Backpacks For Life cares about each veterans unique situation and does their best to help in any way they can.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Backpacks for Life fills an important need for our veterans, and especially for those who have fallen through the cracks. It is a well run organization that puts the donations directly into the hands of the people who need it the most. Our church just ran a collection drive for them and we look forward to assisting this great effort again in the future.

1 Mike C.4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Back backs for life is such an amazing foundation! It’s great to see such excellent service for people from people who can provide for them. What a humbling group of people!!!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Backpacks for life Inc is a Blessing for my family and I. We had reached out to over 100 min profits and backpacks for life Inc were the only 5 that had responded and help us out with a bunch of personal needs while we were homeless! God bless him and everyone who helped with backpacks for life inc such a wonderful heartfelt organization❤️❤️❤️

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

With a wife and four kids to say something as simple as buying my own Backpack was "impossible" is an understatement. I was left with the finalized thought of spending my first year in college at 32 with my school books in a shopping bag. My wife sat down with me and asked if there were any Veteran Nonprofits that helped in regards to something as simple as a backpack. That's when we cam across "Backpacks for Life Inc" without hesitation they shipped one right out. So with tears in our eyes and love in our hearts we THANK YOU!!! thank you for looking out for us Veterans!!!

-BC

1

Donor

Rating: 5

They make sure veterans are directly affected by their efforts. Founders, board and employees keep no profit, use resources responsibly.

mattbnb

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

my business partner and i had the privilege of meeting with Brett and Alexa a few days back... a-maz-ing. Brett is a visionary (and possibly a genius) with a genuine heart for veterans and for his country. Alexa is fierce, supportive, and really seems to understand the business and technical side of Backpacks for Life. i'm immensely impressed with this dynamic duo and the genuine passion that fuels and informs what they are doing. there are no word... no word strong enough to express how highly i would recommend Backpacks for Life to anyone truly interested in making a substantial and positive difference in the life of a veteran. i can't wait to see what this team is able to accomplish. the sky is the limit.

Donor

Rating: 5

The couple that ran the fundraiser I attended was very friendly and professional. They did a great job! Maybe be more aggressive with raffles, but that comes with practice.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Attended a paintmixnj event to benefit Backpacks for Life. Impressed with the founders passion to help our vets. Wonderful cause!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Backpack for life is an amazing organization. It's led by very passionate people who truly believe in what they are doing which makes their efforts bar none. I believe they will succeed in their continued efforts to help veterans because of their continued acts of kindness.

Donor

Rating: 5

The organization is very well-run. The founders hav done a great job bringing awareness to homeless veterans. They have very engaging events that appeal to a large audience.

Donor

Rating: 5

It was a very fun activity and at the same time we were helping out troops!

Donor

Rating: 5

They are promoting for a good cause and have a great explanation of what their proceeds go to

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sgt. Brett D'Alessandro and Alexa show their passion of giving back to the Veterans through example. I have seen their interaction with the Veterans when giving out the backpacks. They take the time to listen to each individual and hear their story. They go to speak at various organizations and are working at improving and fine tuning Backpacks for Life almost daily. I am truly impressed and taken back at what they do. Sgt. D'Alessandro said " he wont be satisfied until the day comes when there will not be a need for organizations like Backpacks for Life because when that day comes all Veterans needs will have then been taken care of". Please support this wonderful non profit

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A truly passionate man who created an amazing organization to serve those who have served our country.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Backpacks For Life provides a crucial support mechanism to veterans who are trying to find their way. Self-worth is key to growth.

1 Gary I.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Thank you Sgt. Brett D'Alessandro for your ongoing service to our country and now our veterans in creating such an essential organization, Backpacks for Life. Boy Scout Troop 414 volunteers at the Jan Hus Homeless Outreach and Advocacy Program, located in Manhattan, for the Tuesday evening dinner program, serving many veterans. A few months back Brett came in with Backpacks and Troop 414 was honored to serve both dinner and backpacks to many honored veterans who have served our country. I encourage everyone to volunteer and contribute to Backpacks. You are the best Brett!

3 Kathy244

Donor

Rating: 4

Thank you to Backpacks for Life for all the amazing work you are doing for our Veterans returning from service. We need to support this non profit any way we can and show our men/women who defended our freedom our gratitude. Please visit their FB page and support this non-profit. Let's show our returning Veteran's we're here for them!
Brett has not only served our Country but has identified an area where the Veteran's could use assistance. He never hesitated and immediately went into action providing the staples in backpacks for men/women that are in need.
These men/women went to into active duty when they were called by our Country. Now is the time that we call EVERY person in this Country to donate to Backpack for Life to help this amazing non-profit give back to the returning Veterans in need.
Thank you Backpack for Life and Brett for honoring our Veterans and providing them with the staples with respect and merit.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great organization!!!! They help those who need the help most, our brave veterans. Thank you guys and keep up the great work!!

3

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been working with Brett and his amazing organization on helping supply the wonderful backpacks for our homeless veterans. My company is SOC (Sandpiper of California) and we are located in San Diego which is a big military city with our Navy Base and Marines at Camp Pendleton. We have our own challenges here in San Diego with homeless veterans who come home from the war to nothing but the streets. We have an organization here called VVSD (Vietnam Veterans of S.D.) that helps out the best they can. Still what our soldiers come home to is a tough adjustment back into society. What Brett and his Backpacks for Life organization is doing is what all civilians should participate in. His backpacks are a wonderful blessing to our Veterans to show them we have not forgotten their service to our country in the end of days terrorism this world is dealing with. Good will triumph over evil and we must pull together like Brett D'Alessandro and his wonderful organization!

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Backpacks for Life is is an amazing organization founded by Brett D'Alessandro as a means to give back to homeless veterans who lack the essential daily items which we take for granted. It also provides resources for assistance. I think it is a rewarding way for this Marine to give back to his country and I can't say enough good things about Backpacks for Life

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Backpacks for Life is is an amazing organization founded by Brett D'Alessandro as a means to give back to homeless veterans who lack the essential daily items which we take for granted. It also provides resources for assistance. I think it is a rewarding way for this Marine to give back to his country and I can't say enough good things about Backpacks for Life

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have seldom been so impressed with an organization. My theatre company, South Camden Theatre Company, just presented a weekend of short plays about American veterans and we contacted Brett to have our audience support his group in helping homeless veterans. Brett was at the shows on Saturday, met the audience and impressed all of us with his commitment and drive. This is a special group that is more than worthy of anyone's support. He works tirelessly helping other veterans. We should all be proud to support him.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a Marine mom who had the good fortune to meet Brett D'Alessandro through his friendship with my son. Brett is a remarkable young man in many ways. He proved to be a true brother to my son over the years by his genuine concern and care for the well-being of others. Therefore, upon their return from deployment, I was not surprised to learn of Brett's tremendous efforts to launch and succeed with Backpacks for Life. This is a wonderful and meaningful organization for our homeless veterans to provide them with life essentials and future resources. Most importantly, it gives HOPE in place of hopelessness.

2

Advisor

Rating: 5

As an internet writer, often covering veterans' events since 2010, meeting Backpacks For Life Founder Brett D'Alessandro last year expanded the limits of my small outreach to veterans. Previously I had created a half page of 800 numbers of veterans' help organizations to hand out to homeless veterans on the street. When I first met Brett, he immediately took copies of that list to incorporate with the other similar helpful written material this charity includes in their backpacks handouts. Brett is using his Marine experience with logistics and his personal concern for America's homeless veterans to match up surplus goods suppliers of basic needed goods, volunteer backpack stuffers, and social service organizations to create unique events called Stand Downs, where homeless veterans are bused to gatherings where receive vital, everyday items that the rest of us take for granted.

I now include Backpack For Life's flyer in the information I give to homeless veterans I meet. This is a unique and wonderful organization.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a retired CMSgt, Marine Vietnam Veteran, and a Chairman of a charity organization, I am inspired by this young Marine and his love of country. I have seen him first hand in action and it is most noteworthy. He is a true example of our Marine Corps--Semper Fi

2

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I think that Backpacks for Life is a great organization with nothing but great ideas and multiple ways to raise money for the veterans. The only thing I think they need to improve is the amount of man power they have

Daniela8

Donor

Rating: 5

I hosted a bar crawl in New Haven to support Backpacks For Life. Brett is incredible to work with, and the organization is amazing.