Operation Backpack®

The Operation Backpack® 2019 Public Drive is Underway!

Operation Backpack® is a community service of Volunteers of America-Greater New York that provides new, top quality backpacks filled with grade-specific supplies to any child living in a New York City homeless or domestic violence shelter who needs one. 

Last year, thanks to our Official Sponsors and 332 corporate and other community partners, Operation Backpack® provided 20,000 children with a full backpack in time for the first day of school. This way, they started the year looking and feeling more like their housed classmates and less like a child in need. 

In order to reach our goal this year, our immediate need is financial. If you are in the position to become a financial sponsor, see the information below and please reach out. We also invite you to form a fundraising team, make an online donation, or send a check today in any amount you can. On behalf of the children who will benefit from you generosity, thank you!

How to Get Involved in the 2019 Campaign

Volunteers of America-Greater New York
135 West 50th Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10020
Attn: Rachel Weinstein

For other ways to get involved contact us.

About Operation Backpack®

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. 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 in, work in, or otherwise 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 needs one, a new, full backpack.

Watch a video about the impact that Operation Backpack® makes in the lives of NYC students who are homeless:


Operation Backpack® News

  • August 15, 2018

    Operation Backpack® on Fox 5

    Fox 5 New York profiles Operation Backpack® featuring interviews with VOA-GNY President and CEO Tere Pettitt and backpack recipient 11 year old Heaven.

  • August 6, 2018

    Ernie Anastos Interviews Operation Backpack® Founder Rachel Weinstein About 2018 Campaign

    Learn about what's new about this year's campaign, and how our partners, new and old, have responded to our call to fill 18K+ backpacks for children living in shelters.

  • August 15, 2018

    WCBS Highlights the Importance of Operation Backpack®

    WCBS highlights the importance of the annual drive, and what it means to students who are homeless across New York City.