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A kid in Kansas released balloons with a note. A Cree man in Quebec found them 1,800 miles away.

Reid Habberts note traveled by balloon 1,800+ miles, from Kansas to Quebec.

Stories of people tossing a message in a bottle into the ocean and having it found by some stranger on a distant shore have always intrigued us. The questions of chance vs. providence in who receives the message and the possible perils that could impede it from reaching anyone at all make the whole idea intriguing. A simple story beginning—throwing a message haphazardly out to the big, wide world—can have so many endings.

When 10-year-old Reid Habbart from Manhattan, Kansas attached a note to a bunch of helium-filled balloons and sent them off into the sky, he had no idea where it would end up. He certainly didn't expect them to travel more than 1,800 miles north, to traditional First Nations lands in Quebec, where a Cree hunter would find them while out hunting geese.

"I found them on the water … about a kilometer from my camp," 51-year-old David Bertie Longchap told CBC. "I thought 'Oh what is this?'"


The way the balloons were found on the water highlights the environmental reasons not to release balloons, but thankfully this story has a happy ending.

Longchap tied the balloons to his pickup truck, and after they dried out he was able to make out the note attached to them: "Hi, my name is Reid. I'm 10-years-old and I live in Manhattan, Kansas …These are my sister's balloons. If you find these, please write me."

Longchap's sister Hattie posted about the find on her Facebook page on April 26, with photos of her brother with the balloons and the note and maps showing how far they had traveled.

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Hattie connected with Reid's family through Facebook, and they were amazed at where his balloons had ended up.

"The wind was out of the north that day blowing hard," Reid's father told Hattie, according to CBC. "I figured they would end up in Texas. Not north."

Others in the Quebec Cree community have been delighted by the story, sharing comments on Hattie's Facebook posts and extending an invitation for Reid to come visit.

"That is so cool," Amanda Miansum wrote. "Tell him all of us Crees said 'Hi' back too!"

"This little guy just made so many friends in CREE NATION,💙 hope you get a chance to visit CN and where your balloon journey ended," wrote Delana Gunner-Blackned.

"Hey there Reid, you touched the Cree Nation," wrote Harriet Petawabano. "You are really popular here now, hugs and love to you ❤️❤️."

According to CBC, the Longchaps are planning to send Reid a beaded rainbow keychain in honor of their mother, Emma Trapper Longchap, who was the first of the Quebec Cree to die of COVID-19 in 2020. They will also send a photo and some information about Eeyou Istchee, the traditional Cree lands in the Quebec area.

Reid's parents shared the video of the balloon release in Kansas. You can hear his father saying, "Off to Nebraska," which is hilarious considering how much farther they went.

And in an additional bit of serendipitous coincidence, check out the truck in the video. Reid's balloons began their journey with a red pickup and ended their journey with a red pickup over 1,800 miles away.

No storyteller could have scripted it more perfectly.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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