Charles Claybaker was born in St. Petersburg at Bayfront Hospital. He met his wife, Kandice, at Boca Ciega High School. He knew he always wanted to give back to his city.
He just didn’t know he’d be giving back with backpacks.
“When I started this, I was actually shocked to see how many homeless shelters there are in Pinellas County,” said Charles, a former Army Ranger who is disabled due to a plane crash in April 2010. “We have a huge homeless issue … That’s unacceptable. As a veteran and as a ranger, that’s unacceptable.”
Claybaker started the Claybaker D.U.S.T.O.F.F Foundation to help the homeless veterans. He’s forgotten how many backpacks he’s filled with necessities like toiletries, snacks, and powdered drink mixes. A $20 donation is enough to fill one of his backpacks with supplies.
All of them are handed out to homeless veterans around Pinellas County.
“The dream is always to put a backpack in the hand of every homeless veteran in the area,” he said. “It’s been pretty great.”
In 2014, The U-S Department of Veterans Affairs estimated that there were nearly 50-thousand homeless veterans in the United States.
Claybaker is doing his part to make his community homeless population feel cared for.
“Anybody can take care of themselves but it takes a real man and a community person to take care of other people,” he said.
If you’d like to donate to Claybaker’s mission, donations can be made here.