Operation Backpack® 2019

$163,813 of $200,000 goal
81% Complete


Operation Backpack® is New York City’s back-to-school campaign that provides new, top quality backpacks and grade-specific school supplies to children living in NYC’s homeless and domestic violence shelters. Last year, thanks to the generosity of those who work, live or simply care about New York City, every child in shelter who needed one - over 20,000 students in Pre-K through 12th grade - received a full, brand new backpack in time for the first day of school. 

Currently, there are 22,000 children who call a New York City shelter “home” and most are school-age. A new, full backpack can make the difference between a child being excited to go to school and refusing to go at all. Operation Backpack® relieves families of an expense they cannot afford and removes the worry children have of arriving at school empty-handed and dealing with the stigma attached to being poor and homeless.

A high school diploma is key to breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty and homelessness. Having adequate school supplies positively impacts the rate of homework completion, class participation, and ultimately, graduation. 

Now in its second decade, Operation Backpack® is one way that Volunteers of America-Greater New York helps normalize life for children who are homeless; it allows them to start school with brand new supplies and a backpack, not hand-me-downs, so they can feel more like their housed classmates and less like a child in need. 

The success of Operation Backpack® relies 100% on support from the community in the form of financial underwriting, donations of product and services, and engaging in a number of other ways. To learn more about becoming an Official Financial or Major In-Kind Sponsor watch this video featuring Paige Davis and contact Rachel Weinstein at Rweinstein@voa-gny.org or (212) 496-4305. 

To organize a drive at your company or elsewhere, or create a fundraising team on Crowdrise contact Andrew Zibell at azibell@voa-gny.org or (212) 496-4307.