Deb Gordon spotlighted Volunteers of America’s Operation Backpack campaign with Rachel Weinstein, VOA Chief Development Officer and Founder of Operation Backpack, and Paige Davis, TV Personality and VOA board member.
Now, in its 15th year, Operation Backpack provides brand new backpacks filled with grade specific school supplies to thousands of homeless children in New York, and strives to fill the request of every child who needs them.
“We want all those children who are living in shelters — who call New York City shelters home — to have what their classmates have, a new backpack and all new supplies,” said Weinstein.
“Last year…we got requests for 19,400 backpacks, and we delivered 19,400 backpacks, “ Weinstein continued. “Family homelessness is at an all time high, so we’re anticipating requests for about 20,000 backpacks this year.”
Discussed were the importance of every child being ready to start the school year with a supply filled backpack and the positive impact that the backpacks have on the young people who are better prepared, equipped, and confident.
“One of the most devastating consequences of homelessness is the impact it has on a child’s education, and the first way to end the cycle of poverty is through education,” said Davis. “It really is the epitome of a hand up and not a hand out.”
In addition to providing backpacks for New York’s needy kids, Volunteers of America provides other at risk youth oriented services – including schools for children with early learning disabilities. The organization also provides shelter for homeless families and veterans.
Operation Backpack is collecting backpacks and monetary donations for the campaign through August 19th, and the community is encouraged to get involved and support the cause.
“The number one way to help is to donate,” said Davis. “We can really promise you that the money will be so wisely put to use.”
“Cash is king…but if you want to fill a backpack, we have about 50 drop-off locations listed on the site, “ said Weinstein.
For more information, visit www.operationbackpacknyc.org.
–Deb Gordon/Fresh 102.7