Respect 90 Partners with CITYPAK to Provide Backpacks to the Homeless

November 7, 2017

By Rick Vaughn | Respect 90 Foundation

TAMPA, FL— Chicago Cubs Manager Joe Maddon’s Respect 90 Foundation has partnered with The CITYPAK Project to provide 1,300 custom designed, versatile, backpacks to homeless shelters in Tampa Bay, Chicago and Maddon’s hometown of Hazleton, Pennsylvania. The backpacks are manufactured by High Sierra, provider of premier, durable, outdoor gear since 1978.

One thousand CITYPAKs will be distributed in the Tampa Bay area in November as part of Maddon’s annual Thankmas program. CITYPAKs will be distributed at the following Tampa Bay area shelters: Pinellas Hope, the St. Petersburg Salvation Army, Trinity Café in Tampa, the Tampa Salvation Army, Volunteers of America in St. Petersburg and the Homeless Empowerment Project in Clearwater. While the Chicago area shelter has yet to be determined, Hazleton’s Divine Providence Shelter will be a recipient in December.

As manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, Maddon hosted his week-long Thanksmas at shelters in Tampa Bay for eight winters between 2006 and 2013 providing meals, supplies, gifts and funds to thousands of needy citizens from Fort Myers to Orlando. Maddon continued to host Thanksmas the past two January’s in Chicago and Hazleton.

Florida Dates are as follows:

  • Monday, November 13, 4:30 p.m. Tampa Salvation Army
  • Tuesday, November 14, 5:30 p.m. Pinellas Hope
  • Wednesday, November 15, 4:30 p.m. St. Petersburg Salvation Army
  • Thursday, November 16, 11:30 a.m. Trinity Café

Thanksmas will also take place at shelters in Maddon’s hometown of Hazleton, PA in December and Chicago in January.

“I love the concept created by CITYPAK and am very proud to have our logo on this quality item that High Sierra has produced just for this purpose,” said Maddon.  “It is a perfect addition to Thanksmas,” Maddon added.

“I have learned that in order to achieve important goals, you need great partners,” says CITYPAK Founder Ron Kaplan. “It’s an honor for The Citypak Project to work with Joe Maddon and Respect 90 to help those in need.”

The CITYPAK Project is a not-for-profit philanthropic organization that works to provide custom designed backpacks to homeless persons in need. Working with exclusive manufacturing partner High Sierra, The CITYPAK Project will have distributed over 43,000 PAKs to homeless in 107 cities by years end across North America, including Chicago, Illinois; New York City, Boulder, Colorado; Maui, Hawaii; Austin, Texas; Boston, MA, San Francisco and Los Angeles, CA, and international distributions in Toronto and Vancouver.

Founded by Chicago businessman and philanthropist Ron Kaplan in 2012, The CITYPAK Project provides a safe, convenient and versatile backpack uniquely designed to meet the constantly changing needs of the homeless.  Inspired by the simple desire to create something that would make life on the streets of Chicago a little easier, Kaplan shared his idea with the design team at the international adventure travel gear manufacturer High Sierra. Today, with the help of High Sierra and a growing list of corporate and individual donors and a variety of local and regional non-profit partners, The CITYPAK Project distributes CITYPAKs in growing list of cities across the U.S. The ongoing goal: to design and provide a useful, high quality backpack for the homeless.

A division of Samsonite LLC, High Sierra designs feature-rich, versatile outdoor lifestyle gear for adventurers everywhere. Since our founding in 1978, we’ve committed ourselves to creating durable, affordable product with distinctive details, delivering the freedom to go anywhere—near or far, on roads or trails, on mountain ridges or snowy slopes, no matter what form your adventure takes. In 2012, High Sierra formed a design partnership with the Chicago-based CITYPAK Project [501(c)(3)] to create purposeful, utilitarian backpacks for the homeless. High Sierra is also proud to be the Official Bags supplier to the U.S. Ski, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing teams. High Sierra. Adventure This Way.

In 2015, Joe and his wife, Jaye, formed the Respect 90 Foundation. Respect 90 seeks to provide children and families opportunities to develop championship attitudes through sports, academics, and community involvement in all the places they call home: Chicago, IL, Tampa, FL, Mesa, AZ and Joe’s hometown of Hazleton, PA.

For more information Contact: Rick Vaughn, 727-741-7300 or

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