Sometimes traveling can help you understand the importance of what you do.
The PackMen taking our first trip outside of NYC to deliver 200 backpacks to disadvantaged youth in Tampa and St. Pete, Florida was an eyebrow raising experience.
Our GiveBackPack program has a life of its own. And that’s the best part - a New York bag drop will look totally different from a Florida bag drop, but somehow the engagement and learning remain just as effective to our participants.
The 60 minute GiveBackPack workshop, executed at two separate Boys and Girls Clubs, gave our youth a chance to enjoy themselves through dance, cheers and activities, while learning the building blocks of giving back. Perhaps the most powerful part of it all is when our participants understand that you do not have to be rich to give back, but living with the intangibles such as courage, health and acceptance can help put them in a position to succeed - something I enjoyed sharing with them about my journey and how staying true to those values got me where I am today.
I’ve learned that this experience has the ability to reach more than our children, but brings out the best in athletes and celebrities as well. Heisman Trophy winner, Super Bowl MVP, and ESPN analyst, Desmond Howard, became our first honorary PackMan. He dove right into the workshop, sharing his own experiences as a child and stood in front of the crowds as living proof that hard work, treating people with kindness and giving back will reep benefits down the road.
Desmond said it best when he told the kids, “Today, we are forever part of the STATE Bags team. One team, committed to making the world a better place for everyone.” STATE Bags is a company that has successfully found the key to longevity, because STATE is invested in more than just their bottom line, but in building community, family and a better world for our youth.
- Rick Wagner, STATE PackMan
Backpacks are the new beach bag! Our Mercer bag will not only prevent all your belongings from being covered in sand, but its water-repellent waxed cotton canvas will also keep your things from getting wet. Ideal, or what?
Summertime means festival time! And what’s better to bring to a festival than a backpack? It will fit all your things while your hands are completely free for handclapping. Oh, and it will totally stay on your back while crowd surfing, too. See? Can’t beat it.
Are your kids camp bound this summer? Our Garfield and Durham bags are the ideal companions to send off your kids to camp with. Equipped with exterior pockets that will fit all the smaller necessities and main compartments that will fit… well, everything else, your kids are all set for a summer at camp!
Whether you’re hitting up the mountains in Vermont or climbing up the Great Rock in Central Park, our Durham bag should be on your back. Rumor has it free use of both hands come… you know, in handy, when hiking.
There’s no other bag than the backpack that does the job when it comes to a bike trip. When your hands are free, you’re worry free. With a STATE bag on your back, all you need to think about is where the path ahead of you will take you! (Just don’t forget to wear a helmet!)
The things you can discover when you take a stroll around the city are amazing. Get off to an early start and don’t come home until your backpack is full of memories your smartphone could never store.
Oh, yes! What’s cooler than sporting a backpack during Pride Week? Nothing. Whether you’re just hanging out or parading, your backpack should be stuffed with tassels, feathers, and of course - some extra jewelry! Our backpacks are your partners in pride.
Summertime means play time! Best way to prepare for a day on the playground is to pack our Garfield bag for your kid. Keep water and snacks in the exterior side pockets and an extra sweater in the main compartment in case things get messy!
Seriously, who needs a picnic basket when there are backpacks? Stuff your blanket, book and all the goodies you want in one of our backpacks and you’re good to stay for the day.
Our Mercer bag with its chic leather straps and antique brass zippers will not only get you envious looks by the pool, its water-repellent waxed cotton canvas will also keep all your belongings safe and dry. So go ahead and splash away!
In honor of Mother’s Day, let’s take a look at what kind of advice STATE’s very own PackMen received from their mothers.
Rick’s Mom taught him to always be prepared for anything and everything and to never sweat the small stuff… because at the end of the day - it’s all small stuff.
David’s Mom always stressed that kind words go a long way.
Roger’s Mom always said to “crush ‘em with kindness,” and “it never hurts to smile, so do it often.”
Click here for more photos.
We’re so excited to introduce our Buy 1, Give 50 Campaign, specifically geared towards New York City educators going above and beyond their call of duty to serve students growing up in underfunded communities and schools.
An email went out this morning to over 1700 schools in the New York City area with the hope of bringing our GiveBackPack program to each and every one of them.
Find out how it works and how you can help here.
And oh, don’t forget to join the campaign talk on Twitter - use hashtag #BuyOneGiveFifty to let us know how your STATE team is doing!
In April of 2003, I was a spectator at the Boston Marathon finish line for the first time as a lifelong Massachusetts resident. Standing in front of a Boylston Street restaurant with my family (just feet away from where yesterday’s bombings occurred), I witnessed something that forever changed my life.
An older man who was less than 0.1 miles away from finishing his 26-mile trek started cramping up and could no longer move. Without hesitation, two runners near him stopped their own pursuits and carried him on their shoulders across the finish line. It was at that moment that I looked at my parents with tears in my eyes and said, “I’m running this race next year!”
Six months later, I began my training, running throughout the bitter Boston winters to take part in what is by far the best day any city can offer. I ran 2004’s race with my sister and we were both totally blown away by the experience…she was more than happy to be one and done, but I was hooked, running again in 2005 and 2006.
What struck me most was not just the exhilarating feeling as I crossed that line 26.2 miles in (don’t forget about that extra 0.2!) with our friends and family maniacally cheering us on, but the pure goodness that it brought out of everyone. For five straight hours (we weren’t in it to win it), complete and utter strangers screamed our names at the tops of their lungs, gave us water, Gatorade, orange peels, Red Sox game updates, Vaseline, high fives, hugs, and whatever we needed to keep us going. My sister still laughs about the fact that anyone who shouted my name or put their hand out for a high five, I would dart across the street to grant them that high five. It was the purest feeling of joy one could ever experience, and although I desperately wanted to cross that finish line, at the same time, I never wanted it to end.
I eventually moved to New York and ran the NY Marathon, which certainly was a phenomenal experience, but nothing quite compared to Boston. Something about schools and businesses across the state shutting down so that people of all ages could celebrate these remarkable efforts was just so unique… and so Boston.
We now live in Brooklyn and recently launched STATE Bags here in NY, but the concept was actually created while we were living in Boston last year. Jacqueline and I watched our good friend, Conor, make his way to the finish line while selflessly running yet again to raise money for our nonprofit organization.
What happened yesterday will certainly change the structure and organization of future Boston Marathons, but it will only refuel the genuine heart of Bostonians to carry on that strong sense of support shown from Hopkinton to Boston all year long. Patriots’ Day is now every day in Massachusetts and the confusion and anger we all feel now will channel itself into love and compassion for those hurting most.
In one swirling emotion, I have never been more shocked and frightened to see images of my former backyard, but at the same time, proud of the way my fellow Bostonians acted in the face of pure chaos and agony.
The stories of runners darting right through the finish line and heading straight to the hospital to donate blood to the injured is just more proof that hatred and evil will always be overshadowed by love and kindness. Of the many Facebook and Twitter posts I’ve seen over the last 24 hours, this one stood out: “In the end, the terrorists will fail because Bostonians did not turn from their fellow men - they turned toward them. And that is the real music of mankind.”
Our heavy hearts are with our family and friends in Boston. Today and everyday, I am proud to be a Bostonian!