Volunteers of America Chesapeake collecting backpacks, school supplies for kids in need


— Volunteers of America Chesapeake kicks off its Operation Backpack initiative later this month, working to ensure low-income students from around the Baltimore-Washington region have access to supplies they need to be successful in school.

Operation Backpack, which began in 2011, works with the public to collect and distribute backpacks filled with school supplies to children living in

Volunteers of America Chesapeake’s homeless shelters in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Throughout the year, Volunteers of America Chesapeake serves an average of about 500 homeless children. In the six years Volunteers of America Chesapeake has run the program, Operation Backpack has given more than 6,000 boys and girls new backpacks complete with grade-specific supplies to help them start the school year off ready to learn.

This year, Volunteers of America Chesapeake is offering those who want to get involved, the chance to host a backpack pack day at their office, church or another location of their choosing.

Groups are encouraged to go online to https://www.voachesapeake.org/backpack, where they can input a donation amount. Then, supplies will be shipped to their location and they can arrange the backpacks themselves. For just $25, donors can help a child start kindergarten with a backpack filled with all the necessary supplies. For $50, a middle school student will be able to start the school year with a new backpack filled with all the supplies he or she may need.

“Homelessness can be especially tough on school-aged children whose parents may struggle to provide their children with the materials they need One of the most devastating consequences of homelessness is the impact it has on children’s education,” said President /CEO of Volunteers of America Chesapeake Russell Snyder. “The goal of Volunteers of America Chesapeake’s Operation Backpack is to ensure that the homeless children we serve return to school prepared to be successful. We are thrilled that the Redskins have signed on to help us provide children with a level playing field despite their living situations.”

For more information about Operation Backpack and to find a donation location, visit www.voaches.org.