BON VOYAGE, COURT and WELCOME ABOARD, BONNYE!

Macpack VP/Treasurer Court Cashman has moved to Indiana!

We will sorely miss Court, and wish him the best of luck in this new chapter of life. Court remains a staunch supporter of Macpack, and will continue to promote the issue of homelessness in future endeavors. Thank you for your selfless service, Court, and we look forward to hearing about your new adventures!

Macpack is thrilled to announce Bonnye Davis as VP/Treasurer!

We are especially privileged to have Bonnye Davis as Macpack’s new VP/Treasurer. Bonnye brings a unique understanding of the homeless community to Macpack, as she experienced homelessness herself. She lived on the streets in both Austin and California as a young teenager from 1992-96. Bonnye was able to find employment and eventually worked her way back to California for a time, then returned to Austin in 2012.

Bonnye is married to Chibi, and is mother to two step-sons, and 3 ½ year-old Keala, born at home in Austin, TX. She agreed to share some of her experiences and thoughts with our Macpack community on our About Us page.

Macpack Celebrates Fourth Anniversary!

Four years and growing! Today we honor Eryn’s father, Mac Rawley, the inspiration for Mac Mission Incorporated, the official name of our Macpack charitable organization. We also remember Ryan Reddick, dear friend, housemate, and the organizing dynamo behind Macpack. Even though these two men never met, they shared the same sense of respect and understanding of homelessness, and the importance of community service.

Eryn and I watched over the years as Mac seemed to be drawn to any homeless person he saw, taking the time to talk with them, listen to their story, and even invite them into our home, on camping/fishing trips, and to share a meal. His fascination was born from both a philanthropic nature, and the very visceral knowledge that “there, but for the grace of God, go I.”

These ideals carried over to Eryn in her adult life, and she began putting together backpacks with comfort/survival items on her own as one of her many personal community service activities. Soon after Mac died, she decided to formalize their shared philosophy by establishing a not-for-profit organization in his name.

Enter Ryan Reddick! Ryan had committed himself to community service early in life, and possessed the organizing experience and technical expertise to bring Eryn’s project to a much wider population. Ryan credited his mother for his interest in service, and had a deep understanding of Eryn’s motives and connection through her father. Ryan served as the first VP/Treasurer for Macpack, and generously spread the word to his family, friends, and associates. Macpack is greatly indebted to Ryan’s loving contribution.

While we continue to mourn both Mac and Ryan, we are pleased that Macpack continues to grow and help support the homeless in Austin. We are especially grateful for the continued support of our family, friends, and other Macpack supporters and donors, and look forward to expanding our work in educating people about the causes of homelessness, working with other service organizations, and continuing to produce and distribute Macpacks.

Come be a part of Macpack!

Details on the upcoming Macpack Tag Sale coming soon!

Visit our GoFundMe page!

Watch for exciting announcements very soon!

New Macpack Supplies Coming Soon!

I have just ordered supplies for 15 backpacks for the homeless, both for men and women.  These should arrive around January 18.  I will plan a packing party for all who are interested in helping to pack backpacks after that time.  This will likely be on a Saturday afternoon to accommodate most peoples’ schedules.  Your involvement is most appreciated!

I look forward to seeing you at the packing party.

Eryn Snowden-Rawley

Director

Give a Gift This Season

Happy Holidays to you and your family.

Consider that hundreds of people in Austin are still without shelter in this harsh weather during this festive season.  You can supply a little comfort by making a donation to Macpack this year.  All proceeds will go to backpacks and the items that we fill them with.  As a reminder as to what’s in a Macpack:

Backpack

Hat

Gloves

Travel Blanket

Small tarp or poncho

Mylar emergency blanket

Socks

Travel size toiletries:

Chapstick

Bandaids

Tissues

Wet Wipes (alcohol-free)

Sunscreen

Toothbrush

Toothpaste

Dental floss

Lotion

Soap

Washcloth

Shampoo

Deodorant

Hairbrush

Nail file

Water bottle

Vitamins

Thank you for all you do during the year.  We just want to be extra caring for the homeless during this time of year when family and friends mean so much.

Eryn Snowden-Rawley

Director

The Power of Macpack

Court Cashman recounts his first experience in reaching out to a homeless person, and how Macpack changed both of their lives.

Just over a year ago, I took over what I felt to be a very important role with Macpack. We are quickly approaching the first anniversary of the passing of our amazing friend Ryan Reddick. He was such a great guy and friend to so many–the first time we met we were up until the wee hours just chatting. That night has turned into great fortune for me personally, with friendships gained, and so much more retained. I was honored to join Mackpack to continue Ryan’s good work.

Claudia, Eryn, and I are truly thankful for the generosity of friends and family to keep Macpack going, and I know Ryan would be thrilled with how so many have come together to assist. Because of your support and generosity, we were recently able to assemble one dozen Macpacks for distribution. On Wednesday, June 22nd, I had my first person-to-person experience of the impact for which Macpack was created.

That evening while en route to some friends for dinner in NE Austin, I found myself at a stoplight at Highway 183 and Loyola. At 6:00 p.m., the temperature was a brutal 97 degrees. I saw a woman slightly older than myself on the corner holding a hand-made sign. The sign simply said, “Anything would help.” I admit with great shame, that I looked at her judgmentally. Suddenly, a piece of Ryan slapped me on the back of the head. I pulled off the road and asked the woman if we could chat. I introduced myself, and then asked her what she was doing out in the heat. I’ve always considered myself pretty good at reading people. Her eyes spoke of genuine disparity and the dire situation she was in. She told me she had only been in Austin for a week when a domestic issue pushed her out into the streets. She had been sleeping in the nearby woods with some folks who had welcomed her in to their company and gave her a sleeping bag. She had nothing with her but what she was carrying in her pockets. I asked if some water, sunscreen, and a hat would help protect her from the heat. She immediately answered, “You have no idea!!!” I reached into my backseat, grabbed a Macpack, and told her what she would find inside. She looked at me with sheer joy and then asked if I knew where she could find shelter out of the heat, and she said she hadn’t been so lucky that day. I gave her some money for bus fare to get to the nearest shelter. The she asked me, ”Can I hug you? You are truly a gift from God.” I gave her directions to the nearest bus stop, and she said, “I’m going right now!” I got in my car and waited until she safely crossed the highway. As I pulled away, she gave me a wave and a huge smile.

As I continued up the highway, I couldn’t help but shed a few tears for this woman who found herself in an untenable situation through no fault of her own. Quite honestly, some of those tears were due to the unexpected satisfaction of doing something for a fellow human being in need. I would never have guessed how deep an impact this experience would have for me. I immediately called Eryn, and her first reaction was, “What’s wrong?” I said, “Nothing’s wrong, I just had an amazing experience.”

Driving home later that evening, I realized how incredibly fortunate so many of us are. We have a reliable income, shelter, food, and luxuries in life that we don’t even really need. For those of you who have not yet had the Macpack experience, I invite you to join us via donations, helping assemble and distribute Macpacks, and share the incredible and humbling experience of potentially changing that one person’s life. Thank you!