August 15, 2013

Charity Spotlight: Operation Backpack

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." ~Nelson Mandela

While many of us are making plans to enjoy a few more weeks of summer sunshine, families with children are getting ready to soon go back to school!  I remember my own childhood "back-to-school rituals"... getting my hair cut, shopping for new sneakers ... and of course school supplies!  I distinctly remember one of my favorite middle school backpacks -- it was a dark purple canvas style with paint-like splashes of black, white, blue and pink.  Sounds ugly, but I loved it!

Unfortunately, thousands of homeless children go back to school each year without the basic supplies they need.  Without basic supplies like pens, pencils, paper, highlighters and rulers, it's hard to be a successful student.  Luckily for these children, Volunteers of America's Operation Backpack program provides school supplies and backpacks to children in need across the country.

"Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom." ~ George Washington Carver

For people who come from poor, abusive or neglectful families... an education can literally be their ticket out of a life of destitution and despair.  We all want to believe that if we work hard, good things will happen for us.  A simple notebook can give a poor child a chance to test that theory.

One of the most devastating consequences of homelessness is the impact it has on a child’s education.  Frequent transfers to new schools and the stigma associated with living in a shelter can often result in a child failing or dropping out of school.  Operation Backpack provides grade-specific school supplies to homeless children throughout New York City.  A filled backpack relieves parents of a financial burden and provides a sense of normalcy into the otherwise chaotic lives of these children, helping them look and feel more like their classmates.  Most importantly, a filled backpack allows these children to start the school year feeling prepared and confident, with the knowledge that their education is important.

That's why Shep and I support Operation Backpack, and hope you will, too!

Watch this video to hear Paige's moving story:

Note: We have no affiliation with Volunteers of America or Operation Backpack.  We just wanted to spread the word about a project with a worthwhile cause!  Visit to learn more or donate to the NYC Area's Operation Backpack, or to locate your local chapter!

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