What Goes In a Backpack?

Every backpack given to a child through Operation Backpack® is filled with brand new school supplies according to the child's grade, so that these children look and feel just like their classmates. For example, high-schoolers get a dictionary and a scientific calculator, while the youngest children receive watercolor paint sets, washable markers and drawing pads. Children preparing to take geometry receive a protractor, compass and graph paper.

There are four grade-specific supply lists linked below (updated for 2021). We spend a lot of time curating these lists to align with what’s required by the NYC Department of Education and to make sure every child has what they need.

Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, we cannot accept donations of school supplies again this year, but you can explore the lists below to see what will go in the backpacks for each grade:

Like last year, we have to adjust our model for Operation Backpack® 2021. We will need to purchase new backpacks and school supplies to replace the items that are normally donated by the public—and we need your support to help cover this extraordinary cost.

Remember to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and use the hashtag #OperationBackpackNYC whenever you post about getting involved!