HOUSTON - The 8th annual YMCA Operation Backpack, Houston's largest school supply drive, is gearing up to help more than 45,000 Houston area children start the school year off right. The YMCA of Greater Houston is mobilizing 35 YMCAs, local companies, civic organizations and dozens of churches to help collect thousands of backpacks and school supplies for children who might otherwise head back to school unprepared. The YMCA Operation Backpack press conference and kick-off will take place on Wednesday, July 18, 10:30 a.m. at the West Orem Family YMCA, 5801 West Orem Drive, Houston, TX 77085. The campaign runs through August 12.
The event will include a testimonial from a parent whom has benefited from the program and YMCA Operation Backpack partners. West Orem Family YMCA day campers, some of whom are beneficiaries of YMCA Operation Backpack, will also be on hand to help fill backpacks with school supplies and place them in donation bins.
“Many of us remember going to the store with our parents and picking out a brand new backpack and supplies for the school year,” said Jamie Clark, YMCA Chaplain. “Many parents in our community don’t have the money to buy the supplies their kids need to start the school year. That can be disheartening to the parent, but it can also be life changing to the child. The YMCA is here to assist those families with helping their children have a successful year."
Last year, YMCA Operation Backpack impacted the lives of more than 40,300 students in 31 participating school districts for a total of more than $1 million in donations.
Drop-off locations include all YMCA centers, participating churches, companies and civic organizations. Shoe Carnival and H-E-B will also be collecting backpacks and schools supplies at participating store locations throughout the Houston area.
“H-E-B is honored to be involved in YMCA Operation Backpack for the second consecutive year and have increased our level of support to include donation tear pads in our stores,” said Cyndy Garza-Roberts, H-E-B Houston Public Affairs. “H-E-B is a major supporter of public education in Texas, giving more than $6 million annually to programs like Operation Backpack. Through this vital program, we are giving thousands of children the tools needed to succeed and thrive in the classroom.”
Visit www.ymcaoperationbackpack.org for additional drop off information, including a suggested list of school supplies. All collected backpacks and school supplies will be distributed to children in need within the 31 participating school districts.