Volunteers of America launches Operation Backpack 2012

Back-to-school campaign gives children a jump-start for a successful school year

HARRISBURG, PA – Every child wants to fit in at school, but showing up the first day without the basic supplies required for their grade makes that struggle even more difficult.

To provide back-to-school supplies to disadvantaged children in Pennsylvania, Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania has launched Operation Backpack 2012.  The campaign will benefit children who are from low-income families, are living in foster care, or are living in shelters.

Operation Backpack is Volunteers of America's national back-to-school campaign that invites the public to donate new backpacks and school supplies for children most in need.  The new backpacks will give the children a sense of confidence and hope, helping them feel like all the "other kids" who are starting the school year with brand-new supplies.

“There are thousands of school-age youngsters across our state who are living below the poverty level or live in homeless shelters,” said Alan R. Garner, president and CEO of Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania.  “Many of these children will go back to school without the basic supplies they need.” 

According to Garner, homeless children face tremendous stigmatization; as a result, they are more likely to be placed in special education classes and to drop out of school.  A backpack boosts a child’s self-esteem and will give children the opportunity to start school with the supplies they need to succeed.  

“But Operation Backpack is more than about giving paper, pens and crayons,” added Garner.  “Operation Backpack will provide some sense of normalcy in the children’s lives – increasing their confidence and attitude.” 

Volunteers of America encourages individuals, organization and businesses to help in the following ways: 

  • Purchase a new backpack and fill it with fresh, grade-appropriate school supplies.
  • Sponsor a school supply collection between July 9 and August 10, 2012.
  • Make a financial contribution to support Operation Backpack.
  • Corporations and businesses can hold a school supply and backpack drive.

      Backpack donations will be accepted at multiple locations.

      For a complete list of drop-off locations, school-supply lists and how individuals, groups and businesses may get involved in Operation Backpack, visit www.voapa.org or call 717-236-1440.