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Giving Back Packs currently provides assistance only in the Spokane, WA, area.

Student creates nonprofit which gives hope to the homeless

Attribution: Matt Repplier, The Gonzaga Bulletin

In March 2015, Rick Clark was living in a trailer without a job, car or electricity. Three years later he is preparing to graduate college and has become a community activist driving a nonprofit backed by a hopeful whirlwind of community support. 

Clark grew up seeing other kids live the life he wanted. Born in 1971 into severe poverty in Spokane, Clark’s dad left when he was 1 and his mom raised three children by herself. 

She tried to go out and get a full-time job but it was difficult for her to leave her rambunctious children at home, only to earn about the same amount of money as she would if she were only on welfare. She ended up being on welfare. 

Clark recalled all of their food stamps running out by the middle of the month and the family being hungry the last half of every month. He remembers standing in line for food at the food banks and would get Christmas presents through the Christmas Bureau and Toys for Tots.  

“I grew up in this mentality that I was in a cycle that I couldn’t break, I didn’t know why I was born into this,” Clark said. “This was my life and so we would unfortunately have to use whatever the community would give us. This kind of taught me to have my hand out and to collect things as I needed them.” 

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