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How can I donate to Operation Backpack®?

5 Easy Ways to Donate and Help Kids in Your Community

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Great! You've decided to help during Operation Backpack®. But now what? Don’t worry, we can help you with easy ways to get involved. Then you can decide what works best for you.
Here we go!
Here’s all the ways you can help homeless children in Ohio back to school, empowered and filled with confidence:

Make a gift to honor your teacher

When you were in school, who was the teacher that really inspired you? Did they push you to be your best? Now, you can honor that awesome teacher by making a special gift to Operation Backpack®. Simply make a donation and check the box labeled "I'd like to make a gift to honor a teacher who inspired me." Any amount will be a special thank you to that teacher who inspired you. It's a meaningful way to say "thank you" to that special teacher in your life.

Donate a backpack filled with school supplies

This is the most common way people contribute to Operation Backpack®. You can donate a new backpack filled with the following school supplies and drop off the backpack at a location near you. Be sure to drop off your stuff before the deadline. We want to make sure the kids get the supplies before the school year begins.

Print off this handy School Supply List to take with you when you go shopping. Choose whether you'd like your backpack to be for a high school, elementary or middle school student. Don't worry if you can't buy every item on the list. Anything you can give will be appreciated.

High school student

 Spiral notebook (1)
 Filler paper (1)
 Elmer’s glue sticks (2)
 Pencil box or pouch (1)
 Large eraser (1)
 Ruler
 Folders, 2-pocket (3)
 Binder, 3-ring (1)
 Scissors (1)
 Crayola crayons, 24-count (1)
 Pencils, #2 (4)
 Pencil sharpener (1)
 Crayola washable markers, 8-count (1)
 Dictionary, paperback (1)
 Protractor (1)
 Highlighter (1)
 Pens, ball-point (4)
 Subject dividers, 5-tab (1)

Elementary or middle school student

 Spiral notebook (1)
 Filler paper (1)
 Elmer’s glue sticks (2)
 Pencil box or pouch (1)
 Large eraser (1)
 Ruler
 Folders, 2-pocket (3)
 Binder, 3-ring (1)
 Scissors (1)
 Crayola crayons, 24-count (1)
 Pencils, #2 (4)
 Pencil sharpener (1)
 Crayola washable markers, 8-count (1)

Once you fill up a few backpacks, check out where around town you want to drop off your backpacks. We have several convenient drop-off locations in Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati.

Before you drop off your donations, make sure you include this completed School Supply List. Filling this out helps us know what donations you collected and allows us to properly thank you for your generosity.

Collect 100+ of one school supply item

When you commit to donating 100+ of a specific back-to-school item, we call this Adopting a Product. You can select any item from either list above and choose to buy a whole bunch of them. This is a good option if you have a Sam's Club or Costco membership or if you spot a really great deal on school supply items in bulk. Be sure to contact us to let us know you're planning on Adopting a Product. We don't want to have 20 people collecting 100+ markers.

Use our Amazon wishlist

If you use Amazon or have Amazon Prime, you can buy backpacks and school supplies right from our Amazon Wish List. This is an easy way to participate in Operation Backpack® without even leaving your home. You can do it all from the comfort of your couch. Best of all, you don't need to drop off the items. They will be directly shipped to our administrative building.

Become a sponsor

We’d love to partner with your company during Operation Backpack®. When we partner together, we can reach larger audiences and rise to meet the needs of children in our communities. Get in touch with us to see how we can design a sponsorship that meets your objectives.

Contact: Becky Carlino, Development Director, Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio


So you see, there’s no right or wrong way to help. In fact, no matter which way you choose, it ALL helps! Now let’s go fill those backpacks with hope!

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