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Operation Backpack collects for children locally and around the world

by Matthew Clark - COPY EDITOR
Tue, Apr 11th 2017 10:05 pm
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 The College at Brockport is participating in a charity collection called Operation Backpack. Students and faculty will have the opportunity to collect and donate school supplies for children in New York City and Ghana. The donations can be dropped off at the Department of Community Development in the Seymour College Union room 203 until 5 p.m., Monday, April 24. Operation Backpack is asking for a wide variety of school supplies to be donated including pencils, pens, notebooks, calculators, backpacks and more. 

Every year since 2004, the Volunteers of America have collected backpacks filled with school supplies and given them to homeless children. According to the Volunteers of America website, voaupny.org, Operation Backpack provided 19,000 children living in homeless shelters and domestic violence shelters with backpacks full of brand new school supplies. The supplies collected from Operation Backpack will be given to students from preschool through grade 12. 

This year, Rachel Campbell is organizing the Operation Backpack drive for Brockport. 

"I feel that it is important for college students to give back to community, and especially school children, because we have all been school children at one point," Campbell wrote in an email when asked about the importance of college students giving back to the community. "It is one of the few avenues that allow you to attend college. Plus, it is important to let college students understand that they are not where they are now without help." 

The supplies are in great demand; the Volunteers of America website states there are currently 13,000 families and over 23,000 children living in homeless shelters in NYC.

"Too often do we congratulate ourselves for doing things on our own, when really it was the collective effort of numerous people," Campbell wrote. "Additionally, giving back does not mean that you immediate see the benefits of your effort. Operation Backpack embodies that idea. We will not know who is given the school supplies or what they accomplished, but it important that we atlas give because you do good things to make a place better; however, not to see the immediate reward of it." 

Although donors of the school supplies will likely never meet the children they are helping, Volunteers of America has shared the stories of some students who received donations from Operation Backpack. Volunteers of America posted a video on YouTube highlighting the life of Didi, a young man who received a school supplies from Operation Backpack when he was homeless. Didi eventually escaped homelessness and helped distribute school supplies for Operation Backpack to children in situations Didi was once in. 

@mglclark11

mclar12@brockport.edu