Deb Gordon’s guest was Rachel Weinstein, Vice President/Chief Development and Communications Officer at Volunteers of America® Greater New York, which is one of the oldest and largest human services organizations providing a variety of services to help homeless families and individuals in shelters receive the critical care and vital services that they need.
Spotlighted Operation Backpack, which is Volunteer of America’s Greater New York’s annual back-to-school drive that collect backpacks filled with school supplies for the thousands of school-age kids living in the New York City’s homeless shelters. All backpacks given to these young people are brand new and non-distinct, so as not to distinguish the kids who are in need from other kids in their class.
Rajini tells her story about how Operation Backpack made a tremendous difference in her life:
Ms. Weinstein provided examples of the positive impact a simple thing like a backpack has on the young people who receive them, which included her recent experience of witnessing the joy on the face of one young child opening up his backpack and anticipating his school year; and a story about a woman who received one of the backpacks as a child who openly speaks about how significant it was to her education, which resulted in her attending one of the top colleges in the country.
Ms. Weinstein also informed the audience about other programs Volunteers of America® Greater New York is involved in including providing housing to homeless veterans and shelter for victims of domestic violence. Volunteers of America® Greater New York is also the initiator of the annual Sidewalk Santas parade, which is a longstanding tradition in the New York community and raises money for needy homeless kids and families.