Operation Backpack®

Donate to Operation Backpack®

Operation Backpack® 2019 planning is underway!

In 2018, thanks to our Official Sponsors and 332 corporate and other community partners, Operation Backpack® was able to provide 20,000 children living in shelters, across New York City, with a new backpack full of every grade-specific school supply they needed 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.

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

Get Involved in the 2019 Campaign:

  • OFFICIAL SPONSORSHIP. To help underwrite the 2019 campaign and enjoy the benefits that come with sponsorship, watch this video or contact Rachel Weinstein, Operation Backpack® founder at rweinstein@voa-gny.org or (212) 496-4305.


  • DONATE. To make an online donation, visit the Operation Backpack® fundraising page. To send a check, make it out to Volunteers of America-Greater New York and include Operation Backpack® in the subject line. Checks can be sent to:

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.

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.

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 three Operation Backpack® supporters who show steadfast commitment to the cause:

Watch a video about why Kevin Bacon believes in the mission of Operation Backpack®: