Volunteers of America Launches OPERATION BACKPACK 2011

Volunteers of America launched OPERATION BACKPACK 2011, their 9th annual drive to collect brand-new backpacks and school supplies for the thousands of children living in New York City shelters. The campaign kicked off on Monday, June 27, and will continue through July 24. In honor of the occasion, Jonathan H. F. Crystal, Executive Vice President of Frank Crystal & Company, rings The Closing BellSM. Frank Crystal & Company and Jonathan Crystal are major sponsors of Operation Backpack.


One of the most devastating consequences of homelessness is the impact it has on a child's education. Nearly 11,000 school-age children are living in New York City homeless shelters. Most of them would face the start of school in September without basic school supplies if not for Operation Backpack. Relieving their parents of yet another financial burden, the program raises public awareness about the needs of homeless families and the impact homelessness has on a child's education.

Volunteers of America’s back-to-school drive began in 1999 as a small effort to collect school supplies for the children in its shelters. In 2003 the campaign was re-branded “Operation Backpack” to reflect its ambitious, new goal: to give every child in the New York City shelter system who needs one, a new backpack filled with grade-specific school supplies. Operation Backpack was so successful that it is now held in other VOA locations across the country including Washington State, Oregon, California, Minnesota, Illinois, Massachusetts, Northern Alabama, Ohio, Kentucky, Greater Delaware Valley and Pennsylvania.


Volunteers of America is one of the nation’s oldest and largest human services organizations, serving nearly 50,000 people in need in the Greater New York area every year. Their mission is to empower the men, women and children they serve to live safe, healthy, and productive lives. From preschoolers with developmental delays to older adults wishing to age at home rather than face institutionalization; from families recovering from domestic violence to youth about to age out of foster care, Volunteers of America—Greater New York offers practical and compassionate support to thousands of the most vulnerable men, women and children in our community each year.