'Blessings in a Backpack' aims to make New York City homeless feel valued

Michelle Charlesworth Image
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
EMBED <>More Videos

Michelle Charlesworth has more on the program working to make NYC's homeless feel valued.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- "Blessings in a Backpack" is a grassroots charity that helps one homeless person at a time, and it is the brainchild of a guy who grew weary of walking by people and not being able to help them every time he went into the city.

Tony Osso insists it is that simple. He collects stuffed backpacks full of toothpaste, socks, soap, wet wipes, granola bars, inspirational notes, water bottles, gloves, hats and all sorts of other essentials.

And he does not accept money.

His team of 18 kindhearted volunteers loaded up a bus last week and went from 31st Street and Eighth Avenue up to Columbus Circle, walking and giving out the backpacks.

Each person carried about five of them, and each backpack was filled with all of those items plus a note bearing Tony's favorite line: "Just love."

The volunteers got a thumbs up from passersby who saw -- and appreciated -- what they were doing.

The backpacks continue to be donated, and Osso keeps them at his house in Norwood, New Jersey.

It is his second year doing this, and he says they have handed out 453 bags. That's nearly four times as many as last year, when he and his volunteers passed out 120 or so.

Osso said he truly hopes his backpacks help homeless people feel appreciated and supported and maybe even help get them back on their feet. He also hopes it helps people who want to help but don't know how.

People can contact Tony on his Facebook page.


* More New York City news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube