Operation Backpack® 2019



Operation Backpack® is the back-to-school drive that provides new backpacks full of every grade-specific school supply required by the city’s public schools to students (Pre-K through 12) living in NYC’s homeless and domestic violence shelters. Last year, thanks to the generosity of the New York City community and beyond, every child who needed one - over 20,000 students - received a brand new backpack before the first day of school. 

Currently, there are 23,000 children living in shelters in New York City, and most are school-aged. These backpacks can make the difference between a child being excited to go to school and refusing to go at all. Operation Backpack® relieves homeless families of an expense they typically cannot afford, and for children, lessens the burden of arriving at school empty-handed on that all-important first day. Having adequate school supplies impacts the rate of homework completion, class participation, behavior, and ultimately, graduation. A high school diploma is key to breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty and homelessness.

Now in its second decade, Operation Backpack® is one way that Volunteers of America-Greater New York helps normalize the lives of thousands of children, so they can feel more like their housed peers when they receive a new backpack filled with school supplies. 

 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 to engage others in the campaign. To discuss becoming a MAJOR FINANCIAL OR IN-KIND SPONSOR for Operation Backpack® 2019, contact Rachel Weinstein at or (212) 496-4305. To organize a drive for your company, community group, or your family, create a fundraising team on Crowdrise, or contact Andrew Zibell at or (212) 496-4307.