Giving Back: Operation Backpack

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I’m very lucky. I try to count my blessings often and every once in a while I am reminded of just how blessed my life truly is. For example, back to school shopping means accompanying my children and their 2-3 page lists of teacher-mandated items to Staples and Target, filling their carts and getting ready for the year ahead. This activity fills them with anticipation, excitement, probably some anxiety… and they get to exercise some control over the future (yes I want that pencil box, no not that book bag) and that’s cathartic in some way, I’m sure (ok, maybe it just is for me). It’s easy to take these things for granted: that I have the ability to provide for them, that they are happy, pretty well-adjusted kids living a safe, relatively normal life and that this is time we get to spend together.

It’s not like that for everyone.

A few days ago a friend of mine sent me an email because her office participates in the Volunteers of America Operation Backpack program. Operation Backpack provides school supplies for kids living in homeless and domestic violence shelters. These kids are dealing with stress and situations my kids have never known and I hope will never personally know, but we can help–making a donation or shopping from the Operation Backpack Amazon shopping list are two ways (you will have to select the ship to gift recipient option). Hosting your own drive is another.

Tonight I’m going to take my kids shopping on Amazon for Operation Backpack and let them know a little more (in an age appropriate way) about why this organization exists and why it’s important to help others when they can, and hope you consider doing the same at some point.

To learn more about Operation Backpack or to organize a collection in your area–for example, mine is New York–but you can visit their website to find an area near you. Know of other similar charities or organizations? I’d love to hear about them. Here’s a video about Operation Backpack to check out as well.

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