Volunteers of America-Greater New York (VOA-GNY) will launch OPERATION BACKPACK® 2014, its annual campaign to collect brand new backpacks and school supplies for the thousands of children living in New York City homeless and domestic violence shelters. The drive begins on Monday, July 14th and continues through August 8th. VOA-GNY is one of many VOA affiliates nationwide that conduct OPERATION BACKPACK® drives to outfit homeless students with new backpacks filled with grade-specific school supplies. www.OperationBackpackNYC.org
A filled backpack relieves parents of a financial burden and provides a sense of normalcy to the otherwise chaotic lives of these children, helping them look and feel more like their classmates. Most importantly, a filled backpack allows these children to start the school year feeling prepared and confident, with the knowledge that their education is important and that someone believes in them.
In a continuing partnership with VOA-GNY, every Duane Reade location in the five boroughs will accept donations of new backpacks and school supplies from the public during the drive. More than 150 companies, schools and other community, civic and religious groups participate in the VOA-GNY campaign, with new partners joining each year.
Beginning July 14th, the public is encouraged to drop off new backpacks and supplies at any Duane Reade store. To print out a list of the supplies required for each grade, please visit www.OperationBackpackNYC.org/fill. In addition, from July 13-26, Duane Reade will give customers the opportunity to donate at the register, giving the community another way to help and furthering the retailer’s commitment to the most vulnerable children in our city.
Each year since 2001 OPERATION BACKPACK® has achieved tremendous results. Last year, VOA-GNY distributed a record-breaking 16,100 backpacks. The campaign helps not only the children who reside in shelters operated by VOA-GNY, but also children in shelters run by other providers throughout New York City. In 2013, children in more than 170 shelters benefited from OPERATION BACKPACK®. This year, the need is even greater. VOA-GNY hopes to fill 16,500 new backpacks with grade-specific school supplies and distribute them to every child in the New York City shelter system who needs one in time for the start of the new school year.