By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — A former postal worker is making it her mission to improve the lives of others this winter.

For the past seven years, Wanda Tolbert has handed out backpacks to the homeless. On Saturday morning, she gave away 50 more at the Franciscan homeless shelter on the city’s West Side.

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The backpacks are filled with essentials including socks, gloves, toilet paper, blankets, and more. They are her way of lending a hand to Chicagoans in need.

Tolbert said as a letter carrier, she would buy meals for the homeless on her route – and she learned a small gesture can go a long way.

She hopes she can inspire others to do the same.

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“You don’t have to have a lot to give a little,” Tolbert said. “Whatever you have, whatever you can do, just do it, and you’ll see it multiply.”

Tolbert said she is able to fund the backpacks through royalties from two books she has written. They are available on Amazon and

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CBS 2 Chicago Staff