Operation Backpack® 2016 is in the Home Stretch! There is Still Time to Make an Impact.

Thousands of school-age kids in New York City are homeless. But thanks to you - including over 180 wonderful sponsors & partners – they will begin the school year with brand new, filled backpacks -- looking and feeling more like their housed classmates and less like a child in need. At this point in time it looks like we will need 18,000 filled backpacks.While we expect Operation Backpack®2016 to be a success again, we are still in need of approximately 1,500 high quality backpacks that are suitable for high school students. If you can donate to our CrowdRise campaign we can ensure that these backpacks and any other supplies we need are purchased at the best possible price point. If you have access to good quality high school backpacks and would like to donate them please e-mail us or call (917) 636-2167 to make donation arrangements.

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.

Please consider adding your name to next year's list of sponsors and partners, already in formation. For sponsorship opportunities contact Rachel at rweinstein@voa-gny.org to learn about the benefits that come with early sponsorship commitments.

Background:

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?