Deb Gordon’s guest was Rachel Weinstein, Vice President/Chief Development and Communications Officer at Volunteers of America® Greater New York, spotlighting the launch of Operation Backpack® 2014. Operation Backpack®, which Ms. Weinstein, started about 14 years ago, is an annual campaign to collect brand new backpacks filled with grade-specific school supplies for the thousands of children living in New York City homeless and domestic violence shelters.
Ms. Weinstein talked about the importance of ensuring that 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. “We want them to look all different from each other –at least the outside– so that no one at school can say oh, there’s a shelter kid with one of those shelter backpacks” stated Ms. Weinstein.
Ms. Weinstein discussed the positive impact the filled backpacks have on the young people who receive them, providing a sense of normalcy to their otherwise chaotic lives, and allowing them to look and feel more like their classmates. The backpacks also allow these children to start the school year feeling prepared, confident and ready to learn; and also help to relieve some of the financial burdens of their parents.