Operation Backpack®


The 2017 Operation Backpack® campaign is ending and thanks to more than 240 corporate and other community partners, we anticipate every NYC student living in a shelter will have a new, full backpack in time for September 5, the first day of school!

See the story of one young person who lived with us when he was homeless
and how he benefited from Operation Backpack®.

While we are no longer accepting donations of backpacks and supplies and are busy preparing the backpacks for delivery to the children, we are still accepting financial contributions. This way we know we have the resources to purchase supplies as we run low, to ensure every backpack we deliver is 100% full. Please consider making a donation HERE.

  • SPONSOR. To learn about the benefits of early sponsorship for the 2018 campaign contact Rachel Weinstein, Operation Backpack® founder, at rweinstein@voa-gny.org. See how two of last year's sponsors David Matera and the OOH Pitch Team were honored at last year's gala at The Plaza.
  • DONATE. To make an online donation go to CrowdRise. To send a check, make it out to Volunteers of America and include Operation Backpack® in the subject line. Checks can be sent to:

Volunteers of America-Greater New York
340 West 85 th Street
New York, NY 10024
Attn: Rachel Weinstein
or call (212-496-4311)

  • FUNDRAISE. Get your friends, family and colleagues involved. Form your own CrowdRise team here.
  • ORGANIZE. Talk with your building management about holding a drive this summer to collect backpacks and supplies. To learn more contact Andrew Zibell at azibell@voa-gny.org.
  • For other ways to get involved contact us here.

Meet some of the students who received new backpacks through this campaign.

Thank you, to the thousands of New Yorkers and beyond who have ensured the success of Operation Backpack® 2017 and to these corporate sponsors & partners.


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 2004, 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.

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?

Thank you to Operation Backpack® sponsors and our 2016 Gala honorees David Matera and the OOH Pitch Team for their continued support.