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A woman’s simple plan to help the homeless took off so fast, it outgrew her basement and brought in volunteers from across the city.

Kathy Acre thought she’d fill a few backpacks with hats, gloves, and snacks for homeless people in St. Louis, Missouri.

She may have started off with just 20 backpacks, but this weekend—one full year later—her “[email protected]” project plans to deliver more than 200 fully stocked backpacks to people in need in a single night.

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As a single mother whose own career involved working closely with people in public housing, she knew just how thin the line was between having a roof over your head and not having one.

“The one thing I had, no matter how broke or hungry I was, I had a support system,” Acre told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “The people on the street don’t have that.”

Acre’s son, a lawyer, incorporated “[email protected]” as a nonprofit with its own GoFundMe page, which raised $10,000 in the past year. She’s already launched a second page for next year’s batch of backpacks.

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The money paid for 200 waterproof backpacks with built in ponchos made by Chicago nonprofit Citypak, and the essentials her volunteers stuffed them with. Each contains a fleece throw, a pair of thermal socks and three pairs of heavy, cotton socks, two knit hats, a pair of gloves, and a water bottle.

The Bridge Outreach, a homeless charity, will distribute the backpacks this weekend among St. Louis’ homeless population.

Acre’s finishing touch, a hand-knitted scarf to keep the chill out, was added to remind the wearer that someone is thinking about them.

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As Acre says on her GoFundMe page, “They may be small gestures in the grand scheme of things, but they are filled with love.”

(READ more at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch) — Photo: [email protected], GoFundMe

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