Thank you all for caring so much about NYC's children.
While OBP 2014 has officially ended, backpacks continue to straggle in and we have packaged them up for a newly opened family shelter in Brooklyn.
Perhaps it is too late to talk to us about organizing a drive for this year's Operation Backpack® but it's not too early to begin planning for Operation Backpack® 2015.
Approach your office supply vendor at work now to ask for a donation of product; share your enthusiasm for Operation Backpack® with family, friends and colleagues, and invite them to help you fundriase, volunteer or donate next year. We are already approaching potential sponsors now to commit to helping underwrite "Backpack 2015" now.
Plus, the nearly 1,000 children in Volunteers of America's programs who received backpacks from us have needs throughout the year. For instance we are about to launch a drive to collect new coats for the children, many of whom layer up with any sweaters and sweatshirts they have, but don't have jackets. During school breaks, we try to have outings and events planned for the children and always welcome help underwriting those ($500-$1,800). And every month in our family and domestic violence shelters, we hold a birthday party and celebrate all the children whose birthday falls within that month. As with Backpack, all these activities are meant to normalize life for the chidlren. We can always use after school reading mentors and homework helpers for the children too.
Of course Volunteers of America - Greater New York serves many people in need besides children. In fact, through 90 social service programs, tens of thousands of the most vulnerable men, women and children rely on VOA every year, including homeless individuals and families, struggling veterans, youth about to age out of foster care, pre-schoolers and adults with special needs, older adults trying to live at home rather than face an institutional setting, families recovering from domestic violence and men in recovery from addiction.
Individual and group volunteer opportunities are available not only during Operation Backpack® but throughout the year as are many projects that need funding tthat enrich our programs.
To talk to us about upcoming events like our Winter Gala, projects (like field trips and the coat drive for the children) and continuing to work with Volunteers of America-Greater New York year round please email email@example.com.
What is Operation Backpack®.
Operation Backpack® relies on the NYC community and beyond to help Volunteers of America-Greater New York make sure that every New York City student living in a homeless shelter has a backpack full of school supplies in time for the first day of school.
In addition to the impact homelessness can have on a child's education, the stigma attached to being homeless is a heavy weight, so anything we can do to help these kids look and feel more like their classmates and less like a "shelter kid" is a good thing. If a teacher recognizes that a child is in need, it's likely the other children will too and this is the beauty of Operation Backpack®: it places a backpack into the hands of a child before the start of school and before anyone knows the child is without.
Operation Backpack® began more than 10 years ago when we invited the public to donate their gently used backpacks for the children living in Volunteers of America-Greater New York's homeless and domestic violence shelters (about 800 children at the time). Then actress Paige Davis lent her celebrity to the campaign and other stars, like Kevin Bacon, helped. The outpouring of support grew and so did our goal: a new backpack filled with all the grade-specific supplies a child needs for school, for any student living in a NYC shelter, not just a Volunteers of America one.
Last year we gave 16,000 children backpacks. But we did it just barely. As usual, we were running out of supplies, from daily planners to graph paper – when we hit up friends for second gifts, invited newcomers to donate, and raised enough money and contributions of product to make it happen. Check out what goes into the 9th-12th grade backpacks here.
OBP offers a wonderful teambuilding opportunity for companies and a first introduction to philanthropy and community service for children. Take your kids shopping for their school supplies and let them select and fill one for one of our kids. Then, join hundreds of volunteers sorting supplies into backpacks in August in preparation for the shelters picking them up.
A new, full backpack can make the difference between a child being excited about going to school and not wanting to go at all. It allows the children to start the school year feeling more prepared and confident, with the knowledge that their education is important.
To sponsor next year's campaign or learn about our upcoming Winter Benefit (December 8 at The Plaza) and other sponorship opportunities, contact:
Rachel Weinstein, Operation Backpack® Founder and VP/Chief Development & Communications Officer -- firstname.lastname@example.org
For corporate engagement opportunites year round including our Hats & Gloves Drive for Homeless Men, Hope & Hearth Food Voucher Campaign, Holiday Drives (toys, gifts, parties) and monthly Brightening Birthday parties, contact: