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Providing school supplies through its annual back-to-school drive Operation Backpack®

New York, NY – For the 18th year, Volunteers of America Greater New York (VOA-GNY) is continuing to support the city’s homeless students by providing a backpack and grade-specific supplies to every child living in a NYC shelter through its community service campaign, Operation Backpack®

The annual back-to-school drive relies on the community – from individual and corporate donations to the participation of thousands of volunteers – to meet its goal and help students start the year off on the right foot with the school supplies they need.

“This year ‘back-to-school’ has a special meaning for the children of New York who have lived through school closures and virtual learning for the past 18 months,” said Myung Lee, VOA-GNY President and CEO. “We know the pandemic has worsened outcomes for our low-income and homeless students which is why it’s more important than ever that VOA-GNY and our community supporters send the message that these students are important and that we are invested in their future.”

Currently, there are nearly 15,000 children, most of them school-age, experiencing homelessness in New York City who rely on a shelter as their temporary home.

VOA-GNY is committed to equipping these children with the tools needed for academic success, even with the challenges of COVID-19 and virtual learning. Last year, VOA-GNY raised over $600,000 to provide 18,000 students—every child living in a NYC homeless shelter who needed one—with a backpack and school supplies. Watch this video to see how they did it:

This year’s campaign runs through the end of September.  To learn more, visit

Interviews Available:

Myung Lee, President & CEO, Volunteers of America-Greater New York

How to Get Involved with Operation Backpack:

  • DONATE. Make a gift to Volunteers of America-Greater New York on our fundraising page to ensure Operation Backpack® is a success.  For sponsorship opportunities, contact Andrew Zibell at

To send a check, make it out to Volunteers of America-Greater New York and include Operation Backpack® in the subject line. Checks can be sent to:

Volunteers of America-Greater New York
135 West 50th Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10020
Attn: Operation Backpack®

Volunteers of America-Greater New York is an anti-poverty organization that aims to end homelessness in the Greater New York area by 2050 by providing housing, health and wealth-building services to our neighbors who are experiencing, or are at imminent risk of experiencing, homelessness. We are the local affiliate of the national organization, Volunteers of America, Inc., which was founded in New York City in 1896. Today, VOA-Greater New York employs 1,000 professional staff that provide life-changing services through 66 programs in New York City, Westchester County and Northern New Jersey.