Kelley Auto continues Backpacks of Hope tradition

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (ADAMS) – The Kelley Automotive Group is partnering with Backpacks of Hope again this holiday season.
On Thursday, December 22, they are inviting their employees and customers to join them in assembling backpacks at the Tom Kelley Buick GMC dealership located at 555 Grand National Dr. in Fort Wayne.
Donations to help fill these backpacks are welcomed, whether monetary or things such as non-perishable food, gloves, and hand and feet warmers, among other personal items.
Representatives released the following:
The Kelley Automotive Group will once again partner with Backpacks of Hope to help provide a little extra comfort to the homeless during this harsh winter season.
We are asking Kelley employees and customers to join in this charitable cause by donating money or essential items to fill the backpacks that will be distributed to those in need within our own community. We thank those corporate sponsors for their monetary and item donations.
This year we are concentrating on quality rather than quantity. We have reduced our goal of backpacks to make sure each recipient receives an optimal backpack with really warm gloves, hats, socks and other necessary items.
Keep in mind, a backpack, and their content, are a homeless person’s home. It would be a blessing if we are able to supply more backpacks to the needy without sacrificing quality.
What is most needed to complete our minimal goal this year:
• Non-perishable food items that fit in a backpack (cans with pull tops).  Each backpack will have 6-7 items of food
• Women’s gloves
• Chapstick
• Hand and feet warmers
• Small toys/books for children’s backpacks
A backpack starts with a quality backpack that contains new, full-sized items, such as soap/body wash, 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothpaste, deodorant, foot powder, shaving cream, razors, lip balm. It will also have crucial items for warmth: blanket, heavy socks, gloves, scarves, winter hats, rain ponchos, flashlights, hand/feet warmers, as well as water, non-perishable food items (backpack size), kid’s gloves, hats, books and toys.
Monetary donations are also greatly appreciated. Checks can be made out to Backpacks of Hope and mailed to the following address:
Backpacks of Hope
631 E. Tipton St.
Huntington, IN  46750
Or dropped off at any Kelley dealership to the attention of Anne Waybright:
Tom Kelley Buick GMC – 555 Grand National Drive, Fort Wayne IN 46804
Tom Kelley Cadillac – 625 Grand National Drive, Fort Wayne IN 46804
Tom Kelley Volvo – 865 Grand National Drive, Fort Wayne IN 46804
BMW and Mini of Fort Wayne – 715 Grand National Drive, Fort Wayne IN 46804
Jaguar Land Rover of Fort Wayne – 905 Grand National Drive, Fort Wayne IN 46804
Kelley Chevrolet – 5220 Value Drive, Fort Wayne IN 46808
Tom Kelley Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram – 1311 S. 13th St., Decatur IN 46733
Tom Kelley Chevrolet Buick – 1313 S. 13th St., Decatur IN 46733
Tom Kelley Ford – 1341 S. 13th St. Decatur IN 46733
Every dealership will have a bucket in their showroom in which to drop off any donated items.
On December 22, we will be assembling backpacks at Tom Kelley Buick GMC, 555 Grand National Dr., Fort Wayne, Indiana at 10:30 a.m. Volunteers are welcome and needed. If interested, call or email Anne Waybright at [email protected] or 260-434-4901. The filled backpacks will be distributed at the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission that same evening.
Backpacks will also be distributed to VA of Northern Indiana for our homeless veterans, Huntington Soup Kitchen, Charis House, among others.
Backpacks of Hope was started in memory of John Zachary Septer who was 21 when he lost his life. A year before his death, Zachery decided he wanted to spend time with the homeless in Fort Wayne. He started eating and sleeping with the homeless and befriending people in need. He was determined to show the homeless community love, hope, and faith. Following his death, his family was overwhelmed with stories of how he had touched the lives of others.
The winter following his death, the family partnered with the Rescue Mission of Fort Wayne to pay it forward and pass out backpacks full of items for people in need. To read Zachery’s full story, click here.