As I was getting my kids ready for their first days of school, it hadn’t crossed my mind that we didn’t have the money to buy all of their school supplies and a new backpack. My kids didn’t really need new backpacks this year, but I still got Bella one since she was using one of mine that I wanted back. There are many parents though as well as kids in foster care that don’t have the money to buy all of the needed school supplies and a new backpack each year. What if those of us that can afford it picked up a few extra school supplies or bought one more backpack for those in need? The Office Depot Foundation National Backpack program aims to help those who just can’t afford to get everything for their kids.
For the past 16 years, the Office Depot Foundation has been giving children important tools they need to succeed in school – and in life – at the beginning of the new school year. This year is no exception. In 2016, the Foundation is celebrating the 16th year of its award-winning National Backpack Program by donating 200,000 colorful new sackpacks to nonprofit organizations, schools and agencies across the United States and internationally. By the end of 2016, Office Depot and the Office Depot Foundation will have given away more than 4 million backpacks and sackpacks since the National Backpack Program began in 2001.
“We believe that every child should have the opportunity to go to school with dignity and hope,” says Office Depot Foundation President Mary Wong. “For most children, the first day of school is an exciting time complete with new clothes and back-to-school gear. But for kids in families where money is tight, the experience can be just the opposite. The sackpacks and school supplies we donate help to level the playing field and give these wonderful children a reason to stand just a little bit taller.” To deliver sackpacks directly to children, the Foundation is hosting Back-to-School Celebrations in select cities across the U.S. in July and August.
Thousands more sackpacks are being given to kids through the Office Depot Foundation’s continuing partnerships with a number of nonprofit organizations serving children nationally and globally. The Foundation is collaborating with the AARP Experience Corps, the National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association, Feed the Children, Food For The Poor, the Kids In Need Foundation, the National Foundation for Women Legislators, Operation Homefront and Samaritan’s Feet International. For the eighth consecutive year, children of the Navajo Nation in Arizona will receive sackpacks.
The specially designed, drawstring-style sackpacks come in seven bright and colorful designs – several of which are new for 2016. Each one includes a zippered pouch containing a pen, pencil, pencil sharpener, eraser, six-inch ruler and four crayons. The sackpacks do not have any Office Depot Foundation or Office Depot logos or markings.
It warms my heart that large companies take the time to think about those who are less fortunate. Kids deserve the best and having the tools that they need to focus on getting an education is paramount. Something as small as some school supplies and something to carry them in can make a world of difference. Thank you Office Depot for letting me share this information and I will be passing on the sackpacks that you sent me to local kids in need.
Next time you are at Office Depot, pick up a few extra supplies and find a location that you can drop them off or just send to a local school because there is always a need for supplies.
More information about the National Backpack Program can be found on the Office Depot Foundation’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/officedepotfoundation. To learn more about the Office Depot Foundation and its initiatives, go to www.officedepotfoundation.org/. You can follow the Foundation on Twitter @OfficeDepotFndn; the National Backpack Program’s hashtag is #ODFcares. The Foundation is also on Instagram: @officedepotfoundation.