Operation Backpack 2016 is Launching!

Thousands of school-age kids in New York City are homeless. But thanks to you, more than 19,400 of them began the last school year with brand new, filled backpacks -- feeling confident and looking more like their classmates! Operation Backpack 2015 was a record-breaking success, thanks to the support of countless individuals, corporate partners and community groups who share our commitment to the academic success of our most vulnerable students. But don't take our word for it: meet some of the students who benefited from your efforts.

Operation Backpack 2016 is gearing up! Join New York City's largest back-to-school drive and together we can help kids in need succeed. Click on the options below to get started.


One of the most devastating consequences of homelessness is the impact it can have on a child's education. Frequent school transfers and the stigma associated with living in a shelter add up to great hardship for these children. If not for Operation Backpack, many of these children would begin the school year with another disadvantage: unlike their classmates, they would enter the classroom with no backpack and few, if any, school supplies. So on day one, these kids would be identified as “disadvantaged" or worse “shelter kids" setting the stage for their entire school year.

But the New York City community and beyond has the opportunity to change this story. Indeed, the success of Operation Backpack relies 100% on support from the community in the form of financial gifts and sponsorship, donations of product and services and spreading the word about the campaign. This year, thanks to the generosity of thousands of people who live and work in New York City or care about the city, we were able to give every student living in a homeless or domestic violence shelter who needed one, a new, full, grade-specific backpack.

Click here to meet one young man who benefited from Operation Backpack and now gives back to the effort. Didi lived with his mother in our shelter on the Upper West Side. Now a rising senior in high school, Didi and his mom are settled in an apartment of their own but Didi still comes back to volunteer when school is out, and is a role model for the children currently with us.

Anyone can have a tough day, even Kevin Bacon. But can you imagine how a homeless child must feel on the first day of school?