Pack A Backpack™ Drive and Pack A Purse™ Drive 2020 Decision


COVID-19 has allowed me to reflect and reevaluate. 2020 has allowed me to experience frustration, grief, and confusion as well as rest and release. Nothing in my life is business as usual right now. I dare say nothing in the world is business as usual at this time. I am adjusting. 

I hold myself to a high standard in both my personal and professional life. I am unable (or maybe unwilling) to accept the emotional liability that comes with the responsibility of coordinating Pack A Backpack Drive and Pack A Purse Drive during a global health pandemic – and during regular cold and flu season. Despite precautions such as wearing masks, mandating six feet distance, and offering hand sanitizer, I am not comfortable with the risks associated with gathering a group of volunteers inside a closed setting to sort used donations. I would never consider having anyone sign a waiver and I wouldn’t have us all outside in the cold in December. I rarely agree completely with any one cause or movement or political decision. I am a free thinker and will always do what I feel is best.

The 2020 Purse Packing Party is officially cancelled, unfortunately. Honestly, I am saddened that science and humanity have been so politicized that our country is divided and dying – both literally and figuratively.  I understand that other humanitarians, businesses, and groups are continuing with business as usual or making adjustments they believe will minimize risk. I have considered different options for months and this is my final decision – eliminate not reduce the risks. I know my individual limitations and will honor my individual needs. Please understand that change does not mean that I am not giving back. 

Get Involved…In New Ways

Although I will not be coordinating large groups of volunteers and collecting donations in the same way this year, there are ways that we can still support youth in foster care. There are 10 agencies that we support annually for both the Pack A Backpack™ Drive and the Pack A Purse™ Drive and we can support them again in 2020. I will combine the foster care drives this year since our donation numbers will be significantly smaller. I am not recommending volunteers collect any used donations unless you absolutely trust the donor or have the ability to clean or sanitize items. I will not be accepting or delivering used donations this year.

Here are my suggestions:

  1. Sponsor an agency – Purchase new donations then visit the agency website and follow their procedures for making/delivering donations directly to the selected agency.
  2. Host a shower – Follow the baby shower format with your close friends and family if you are comfortable hosting small gatherings and donate directly to a selected agency.
  3. Become an Ambassador – Collect NEW purses, backpacks, and toiletries from friends and family and deliver directly to the selected organization.

I am available to support and assist with information, strategy, and problem solving for anyone who wants to join in this new way. I will be purchasing new items and making deliveries as well. Feel free to contact me with questions related to execution. (Please don’t contact me to try to convince me to change my mind because it won’t work. I’ve thought about this long and hard.)

If you choose to donate in new ways this year…

November 1, 2020 – December 5, 2020

The 2020 goal is 100 bags – 50 filled backpacks and 50 filled purses:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Deodorant
  • Lotion
  • Soap
  • Feminine Hygiene items
  • New backpack, purses, tote bags, duffel bags, drawstring bags, knapsacks

Foster Homes, Group Homes, and Homeless Shelters

It is my hope that each of our 10 agencies will receive at least 5 filled backpacks and 5 filled purses for a total of 10 donations per agency. The 10 agencies we will support are:

  1. Family and Youth Initiative
  2. BEST Kids 
  3. Hearts & Homes for Youth
  4. Sasha Bruce Youthwork
  5. Prince George’s County Department of Social Services Independent Living Program
  6. WIN Family Services
  7. National Center for Children and Families    
  8. KidsPeace
  9. Covenant House Washington
  10. Howard County Department of Social Services

Thank you for years of support!!

Stay safe and stay tuned…

Nicki Sanders, MSW, CEO, is a travel and cupcake lover with an aptitude for authentic connection and career design. She has an extensive background in developing and managing successful programs and leading high-functioning multi-disciplinary teams. She is an accomplished professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has merged her Master of Social Work degree and over 20 years of diverse work experience into a thriving business.  Nicki Sanders Leadership Consulting helps businesses recruit and retain the best employees and helps women in mid-level management design the careers of their dreams.

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