Backpacks for Shelter Children

Lots of Backpacks:
Backpacks sorted and ready to be distributed to children in homeless shelters by Operation Backpack
Photo Courtesy: Volunteers of America

A drive is on by Volunteers of America (VOA) to help thousands of children in New York City shelters fit in with their peers when they return to school after the sunmmer recess.

Every year, thousands of homeless students in New York City face the first day of school without the supplies they need to succeed in their classes. Volunteers of America’s Operation Backpack helps close this gap by collecting and distributing thousands of new backpacks full of grade-specific and essential school supplies to children in the New York City shelter system.

The annual campaign kicks off on Monday July 15 and continues through Aug. 9.

In 2012, children in more than 100 shelters benefited from OPERATION BACKPACK®. This year, Volunteers of America-Greater New York is striving to fill 15,000 new backpacks with grade-specific school supplies and distribute them to every child in the New York City shelter system who needs one in time for the start of the new school year.

Volunteers of America-Greater New York is one of more than fifteen VOA affiliates nationwide that conducts OPERATION BACKPACK® drives to outfit homeless students with new backpacks filled with grade-specific school supplies.

In a continuing partnership with Volunteers of America-Greater New York, every Duane Reade location in the five boroughs will accept donations of new backpacks and school supplies from the public during the drive. More than 140 companies, schools, community, civic and religious groups participate in the Greater New York campaign, with new partners joining each year.

Over the past decade, OPERATION BACKPACK® has achieved tremendous results. Last year, Volunteers of America-Greater New York distributed 13,500 backpacks. The campaign helps not only the children who reside in the Volunteers of America shelters, but also children in shelters run by other providers throughout New York City.

For more information on how to donate and how to be involved, log on to

The public is encouraged to drop off new backpacks and supplies at any Duane Reade store in New York City.

An Operation Backpack recipient.
Photo Courtesy: Volunteers of America

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