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Best backpack drives and school supply drives to explore now

Lend a hand this year with backpack drives and school supply drives. Here's what you need to know about participating!

Written by
Dorkys Ramos
Danielle Valente

It's time to grab a fresh notebook and sharpen those pencils—a new school year is fast approaching. Thanks to these wonderful backpack drives and school supply drives, you can help students in NYC—and across the country—succeed academically. 

Costs add up quickly, and unfortunately some children don't have access to the necessary tools. These local and national efforts are ensuring that every youngster, no matter his or her background, is given a helping hand so that the new grade starts off on a high note.

If you're stocking up on extra crayons and accumulating additional binders, learn where you can donate—or even volunteer—today!

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to kids back to school season

Class is in session! Learn more about this year's after-school programs and the best volunteer opportunity for kids. Enjoy extra time outside with a visit to the best kids' playgrounds once class is over. Don't forget to take a gander at these cute school supplies

Backpack drives and school supply drives

Coalition for the Homeless Project: Back to School

Statistics show that unfortunately roughly 115,000 students in the NYC school system were homeless at some point during the previous term. That's why the Coalition's annual effort, "Project: Back to School," works tirelessly to ensure that children in need are given the necessary supplies to succeed in the classroom. Those interested in lending a hand are able to host a drive, organize submissions and make donations. (

Volunteers of America Operation Backpack

Thanks to this worthy cause, over 18,000 children in NYC are given backpacks filled with grade-appropriate supplies they need to tackle another year of homework and test prep. Although the program is no longer accepting backpack donations, interested volunteers are able to contribute via the organization's fundraising site. (


Although the organizer behind this wonderful cause hails from the Bronx, Donors Choose opens the possibilities for volunteers to help make a difference across the country. By logging onto the organization's website, you're able to choose a project and school location that's meaningful for you and donate accordingly. (

WomenRising Backpack Drive

WomenRising supports women and families in need of safe homes, job placement, advocacy and counseling. This drive helps children who require basic materials to succeed in their programs. Necessary supplies include lunch bags, book bags, index cards, pencils, erasers, Kleenex, hand sanitizer and gift cards for school uniforms. (


Habana Outpost Back to School Bash

Habana Works, the charitable leg of eco-conscious eatery Habana Outpost, hosts a free annual party with music, dancing, raffles and family-friendly entertainment. Mark your calendars for Sept 3, 2018 from 11am–2pm. There are some epic giveaways featuring the year's hottest school supplies. Habana Works, Downtown Brooklyn, NY ( 

Materials for the Arts

The New York City of Department of Cultural Affairs—with the help of nonprofit Friends of Materials for the Arts along with the City’s Departments of Sanitation and of Education—runs this warehouse and accepts unneeded supplies from residents and business who are looking to toss goods. Public schools, and NYC venues within the arts community (who are MFTA members) and can grab materials they need for free. Be sure to check the website for a list of items the warehouse does not accept before donating. (


YMCA Build a Backpack School Supplies Drive

The West Side YMCA collects school supplies and stuffs those donations in backpacks for hundreds of local students throughout NYC. If you're looking to get involved, now's the time to act: Donations are being accepted until Aug 10. Upper West Side, NY (

Yoobi Backpack Drives

Yoobi's strategy, "you buy, Yoobi gives," is taken up a notch with backpack drives. The school supply brand will work alongside organizations who are hosting school supply drives and donate one item for every supply in its backpack bundles to a classroom in the U.S. (


UJA-Federation of New York

UJA-Federation of New York is working to ensure that all kids start the school year on the right foot. Supplies for Success, its initiative to provide new, fully-stocked backpacks to those in need, is currently in its 17th year. When this season ends, the program will have delivered 85,000 backpacks since its launch! Volunteers of all ages join forces to stuff the backpacks with the goodies before they're distributed through UJA-Federation nonprofit partners, schools, shelters and other organizations within the community. Click here to volunteer for this year’s final event on Aug 29 in Bridgehampton. If you are unable to to attend but want to make a contribution, consider donating ($18 provides one backpack). For more UJA volunteer opportunities, make your way to

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