Helping America's most vulnerable.

Help make every child's school year start with a new filled backpack.

What is Operation Backpack?

Each year, thousands of homeless and at-risk children in our local communities return to school without the basic supplies they need.

With your help, Operation Backpack® is able to provide thousands of backpacks, grade specific school supplies, and a variety of support services to homeless, at-risk and foster children from Pre-school to High School levels throughout the Bay Area, Greater Sacramento Area, and Reno regions. Together, we are helping children learn and thrive in school, stay in school, and build a bright future.

Participate in Volunteers of America's Operation Backpack® and help children in need be prepared and excited for their first day of school!

5 simple ways you can help children in need succeed in school:

  1. DONATE online. It's fast and easy to do on our Crowdrise donation page
  2. START SHOPPING and Fill a backpack with school supplies then drop it off at a drop-off location near you.
  3. COLLECT by organize your own internal collection drive at your work, school, church, or club.
  4. VOLUNTEER to help the campaign with marketing, data base tasks, sorting, item pick-ups, calls, etc... just give us a call at 916-265-3966.
  5. ENGAGE your company or your vendors to sponsor the campaign, provide in-kind items such as t-shirts or posters; donate advertising space; or provide specific supplies in bulk such as flash drives, calculators or watercolor sets to help Operation Backpack®. To learn about the benefits of corporate sponsor or to make an offline gift to Operation Backpack® 2015 please contact Ana Bankert, Community Relations Associate at abankert@voa-ncnn.org or 916-265-3966.

Why do this? Children who live in poverty or are homeless face many challenges and tremendous stigmatization – as a result, less than 25% graduate from high school. Preparing these children for school with a new backpack filled with school supplies boosts their self-esteem and gives them the tools and confidence needed to learn and thrive in school.

Where do the backpacks go? The backpacks and school supplies we collect are used in a number of ways. All of the families and children in our programs are provided a backpack and school supplies. We also work with partner agencies and school districts to ensure as many children as possible get the tools they need to start the school year off on the right foot.

Where do I drop-off my donations? Thanks to our partners, we offer many convenient locations to drop-off your donations. Choose your city and view the list for a drop-off location near you.

How can my company become a sponsor? See the In My Area page above to contact your local office and discover how you can make a difference as a state-wide or regional sponsor.

For additional information

Contact your local office for complete information about: Drop-off locations, school supply lists, and labeling backpacks.

  • Bay Area: Nicki Marazzani NMarazzani@voa-ncnn.org or (925) 269-7009
  • Greater Sacramento: Anamaria Bankert, abankert@voa-ncnn.org or (916) 265-3966
  • Reno-Sparls, NV: Sandy Isham, sisham@voa-ncnn.org or (775) 322-7143

Having a Backpack Helps Kids in Need Succeed!

Having a Backpack Helps Kids in Need Succeed! You can get us to our goal of providing 12,000 filled backpack this year. Donate or Shop NOW! Our all day collection drive is FRIDAY JULY 22 at Kids Care Dental in Roseville or drop off items to most Starbucks Stores in Northern California - find a location here

Thank you to these sponsors and the many more that are hosting internal collections drives, providing in-kind services and volunteering their time to make Operation Backpack a success!