VOA-Greater New York Distributes 15,000+ Backpacks to Students Experiencing Homelessness


Volunteers of America-Greater New York (VOA-GNY) distributed more than 15,000 backpacks to school-aged children living in the New York City shelter system this year through its 20th annual Operation Backpack® campaign—a community-wide effort with the goal of ensuring that every child living in a New York City homeless shelter has the school supplies they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond by the first day of school.

Nearly 200 shelters received backpacks and school supplies, with more being set aside for children who enter the shelter system part-way through the school year including the children of asylum seekers arriving in New York City.

“Operation Backpack® is not only beloved by the community as a tangible way to give back each summer, it is a foundational part of our work,” said Myung Lee, President and CEO of Volunteers of America–Greater New York. “By ensuring disadvantaged students have the basic tools they need to succeed academically, we are investing in their future and helping set them up to one day break the cycle of family poverty and homelessness.”

The campaign relies entirely on support from individuals and corporate and other community partners, which this year included AlphaSights, RXR, NYC Department of Education, Westfield, CMT Group, HarperCollins Publishers, The Weeks Lerman Group, Walgreens/Duane Reade, Evian and GSTV.

Additionally, actress and producer Julianne Moore was featured in a PSA.

Operation Backpack® was launched in 2003 as a small effort to collect school supplies for the children living in VOA-GNY’s own shelters and has since grown to become the largest and most targeted back-to-school drive in New York City. The children living in New York City’s homeless shelters rely on VOA-GNY each school year.

To learn more, visit https://www.voa-gny.org/operation-backpack.