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A Backpack Full of Emotions

A Backpack Full of Emotions: Choosing a Cause

With so many charitable causes out there, it can be hard to choose just one. However, when the team was approached about donating backpacks for a family at Doorways, I filled with excitement. I suppose you need to know that I love office supplies. One of my first jobs out of high school was working at our local Office Depot store. I also love organization, paper goods, you name it…

So I immediately volunteered to run with the donation. I’d make the list, I’d shop, then prepare a fully stocked backpack, and then deliver it to Doorways. Little did I know this small act of kindness would help reveal something much deeper in myself.

A Random Realization

As I was going on hour 2 or 3 in Target and re-reading these lists over and over, it suddenly hit me. My Mother did this every year for 13 years and I don’t think I ever said, “thanks for taking me school shopping.” Now at the time, I was more concerned with why we could only afford a certain brand of clothing and I thought it would make me feel left out. Well looking back, I think that was hardly the case. And now that I have had to go Back to School shopping myself, I can’t imagine what it must be like to have children there pulling in each direction.

It was at this moment I sent my Mom a text:

“Thank you for taking me school shopping all those years.”

As I could feel myself tearing up, she replied. “You’re welcome, but where is this coming from?” I explained the donation and we reminisced a bit about school shopping.

Be Thankful

Participating in Doorways Back to School Backpack Program was truly humbling and I will be forever grateful for the lesson it taught me, Be thankful. I truly hope those backpacks bring as much joy as they brought me.

By: Phillip Ray, who thanks to his mother every day.


Doorways has been serving the Arlington, VA community since 1978

At Doorways, we envision a community where all people live free of violence and have safe and stable housing. That’s why we work to transform the lives of adults, youth and children who are facing homelessness or suffering abuse in our community. Through the generosity of our partners and supporters, we help our most vulnerable neighbors survive crisis, rebuild their lives and achieve brighter futures.

Looking for a way to assist Doorways? Click here to learn more.

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