Helping America's most vulnerableĀ®

Giving Every Child A Chance


As any parent with small children knows, back to school time can be expensive. In fact, many parents spend more money preparing for the new school year than they do at Christmas. According to the National Retail Federation, American families expect to spend an average of $673.57 on back to school supplies in 2016, up 9.6 percent from the year before. For even comfortably middle class families, this can be a daunting sum ā€¦ imagine preparing kids to return to class if your family is homeless.

One of the most devastating consequences of living in poverty or experiencing homelessness is the impact on a child's education. In addition to frequent school transfers and an unsettled home life, many children return to school without the basic supplies they need. On the first day of school, they look and feel different from their classmates. As a result of these challenges, less than 25 percent graduate from high school.

At Volunteers of America, we're working to give every child a chance to go back to school with confidence and pride. One way we do that is Operation Backpack, an annual tradition that helps prepare these children for school by giving them a new backpack filled with grade-specific school supplies. A new, full backpack can make the difference between a child being excited to go to school, and refusing to go at all. It also relieves parents of an expense they simply cannot afford.

With your help, Operation Backpack has been able to provide thousands of backpacks, school supplies and a variety of support services to our communities' most vulnerable children in California (Los Angeles, Bay Area and Sacramento), Chicago, New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Together, we are helping children build a bright future. Participate in Volunteers of America's Operation Backpack and help prepare children in need for a successful school year!

For more information about Volunteers of America's Operation Backpack initiative, including links to programs in local communities, please visit

Thank you,

Mike King