JERSEY CITY, NJ (PIX11) — This Memorial Day, a Jersey City veteran is making a difference in our area. 

He’s packing backpacks with essentials for homeless veterans in need. US Marine veteran Brett D’Alessandro served in combat in Afghanistan. Like so many veterans, he struggled to transition from active duty back to civilian life. Now he’s giving back.

D’Alessandro and his fiancée Alexa Modero worked together to fill the backpacks. Each one has socks, first aid kits and other critical essentials. 

The couple started their mission with a GoFundMe page eight years.  Now they have distributed close to 10,000 backpacks to homeless veterans all across the country. They are the co-founders of nonprofit organization Backpacks for Life.  Former NJ Gov. Jim McGreevey is a big fan of the organization.

D’Alessandro says the kits they put together are more than just backpacks; they also help connect veterans with critical mental health services and mentors for life.

“Bob Evans Farms gave us a grant, so we have a van and we can reach more homeless veterans,” said Modero. 

They are also giving backpacks filled with school supplies to veterans’ kids. This Memorial Day, they are hoping to give thousands more.  

If you want to support the effort, just go to the Backpacks for Life website