Operation Backpack, an initiative led locally by the Volunteers of America’s Greater New York chapter, is the largest back-to-school drive in New York City for students who are homeless. It’s an admirable organization that brings together thousands of people from dozens of local communities – all donating their time and resources to ensure every student, regardless of his or her economic standing, family background or hometown, will start the school year fully prepared to learn and succeed.
Last week my colleagues and I at UnitedHealthcare had an opportunity to work with the Volunteers of America to assemble hundreds of backpacks of grade-specific school supplies to support this initiative. Seeing the amount of donated supplies – from dictionaries and thesauruses to calculators and compasses; watercolor paint sets to washable markers – was inspiring, yet—at the same time—harrowing. The collective generosity of our friends and neighbors made me proud to be a New Yorker.
|Team UHC is ready to stuff hundreds of backpacks full school supplies for homeless children.|
Operation Backpack has been operating in the City since 2004, helping children from every borough start the schoolyear feeling prepared and confident. Today, with family homelessness at a record-high in New York City, it’s clear that their mission is more important than ever.
The need is also great in New Jersey. On August 22nd a group of UnitedHealthcare employee volunteers helped the Dominique-Rodgers-Cromartie Foundation launch its inaugural Back-to-School Bash at the Boys & Girls Club in Clifton, New Jersey. The carnival style event was kicked-off by Dominique's Father, Stanley Cromartie who, along with UHC volunteers, helped build excitement for the new school year. More than 250 boys and girls rotated between interactive and mind stimulating games set-up around the Boys & Girls Club gymnasium. Each student received free school supplies.
As you and your family go through your Back-to -School shopping
list, consider picking up a few extra supplies and donating them to the
children in need in your community. For a list of needed supplies, and to learn more about Operation
Backpack, visit: https://www.voa-gny.org/what-goes-in-a-backpack
|Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Stanley Cromartie and UnitedHealthcare's John Verga hand out school supplies to students at the Clifton, NJ Boys & Girls Club|
|Students at Clifton Boys & Girls Club line up to answer health, wellness and science questions as part of the Back-to-School Bash sponsored by the Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Foundation|