Operation Backpack® 2016 has Delivered Nearly 19,000 Backpacks!

Thousands of school-age kids in New York City are homeless. But thanks to you - including over 200 wonderful sponsors & partners – they have begun the school year with brand new, filled backpacks -- looking and feeling more like their housed classmates and less like a child in need. We have completed distributing nearly 19,000 filled backpacks to children living in NYC's domestic violence and homeless shelters.Operation Backpack® 2016 has been a success, but you can still help! We are still accepting donations to our CrowdRise campaign. These funds ensure that backpacks and any other supplies we needed were purchased, and at the best possible price point.

Without the support of countless individuals, corporate partners and community groups who share our commitment to the academic success of our most vulnerable students, we would not be able to fulfill this need, but don't take our word for it: meet some of the students who benefited from your efforts.

You can add your name to Operation Backpack® 2017's list of sponsors and partners, already in formation.If you are interested in getting involved please contact us here. For sponsorship opportunities contact Rachel at rweinstein@voa-gny.org to learn about the benefits that come with early sponsorship commitments.


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 underwriting, donations of product and services and spreading the word and engaging others in the campaign. Each year since 2001, Volunteers of America-Greater New York has been distributing new backpacks filled with grade-specific school supplies to homeless children throughout New York City. This year, thanks to the generosity of thousands of people who live, work or care about New York City, we believe that we will be able to give every student living in a homeless or domestic violence shelter who needed one, a new, full backpack.

Click here to meet Didi, 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 he's headed off to college, but Didi continues to volunteer when school is out.

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?