Media Release

Media Release
Media Contacts:
Nicole Elton, Communications Officer
916. 442. 3691 (office); 510.316.1430 (cell);

July 8, 2014 – For Immediate Release

Volunteers of America helps kids in need succeed through Operation Backpack

(Sacramento, CA) – The start of a new school year is an exciting time for most children, but for homeless children, it is a time fraught with emotional and academic challenges. Without even the most basic supplies, these students start at a disadvantage that only gets worse as the school year progresses.

Volunteers of America’s Operation Backpack, which runs July 7-25, aims to provide local homeless and at-risk youth with new backpacks and school supplies – tools they need to achieve academic success.

With support from Sutter Health, Starbucks, and PRIDE Industries, Volunteers of America hopes to serve each and every homeless child in Greater Sacramento this year. Filled backpacks are distributed to children in Volunteers of America shelters and homeless programs, partnering agencies, and to schools via district homeless liaisons.

“Operation Backpack enables us to distribute backpacks to kids who wouldn’t have them otherwise and for us, that’s huge,” remarks Penny Clemons, Regional Team Technician for Healthy Start Elk Grove.

Volunteers of America invites the community to support the homeless and low-income children and their families by bringing new backpacks filled with school supplies to one of the 140 drop-off locations throughout the Greater Sacramento area, including a number of Starbucks, Sutter Health, and Men’s Wearhouse locations. VOA’s All-Day-Drive will be held on July 25th at 3434 Marconi Avenue, with drive-through hours from 7:00am to 6:00pm. Additional information including a full listing of all drop-off locations, how to volunteer, and the option to give online, is available at

Homeless children face a wide variety of challenges and long-lasting issues that are profoundly detrimental to their development and ability to learn, ultimately affecting their success in life. According to The National Center on Family Homelessness, homeless children are eight times more likely to be asked to repeat a grade; three times as likely to be placed in special education classes; and twice as likely to score lower on standardized tests.

Operation Backpack seeks to provide some sense of normalcy and remove one obstacle from homeless students’ lives. With a new backpack and new school supplies, students get to feel more like “regular kids” and can start the school year on more even footing.

About Volunteers of America
Founded locally in 1911, the Northern California & Northern Nevada office of Volunteers of America is one of the largest providers of social services in the region, operating more than 40 programs in eight categories: homeless services; homeless shelters; substance abuse treatment and recovery services; senior services; youth services; transitional housing; permanent supportive housing; and low income housing. In fact, Volunteers of America provides shelter or housing to nearly 1,800 men, women and children every night in the Greater Sacramento area. Nationally, Volunteers of America helps more than 2.5 million people annually in more than 400 communities.