Provided by Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center
Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas (VOACC) will launch its annual Operation Backpack® back-to-school campaign on July 7, 2023 in partnership with ABC7 News DC, IKEA, FOX45 WBFF, and the Royal Court Zeta chapter of the Mu Beta Phi Military Fraternity. The goal of this year’s campaign is to raise $50,000 and collect brand-new backpacks, supplies, and school uniforms to support at least 3,000 boys and girls from income-constrained families in Maryland, DC, Virginia and North Carolina.
Initiatives like Operation Backpack® play an important role in helping to fill the gap in academic proficiency for children who are underserved and have experienced homelessness. According to the National Center for Homeless Education, children experiencing homelessness are more likely to show delayed development and have twice the rate of learning disabilities compared to non-homeless children. Among children who experienced homelessness in the U.S. in 2018, less than 30 percent achieved academic proficiency in reading, mathematics, and science.
Funding to support Operation Backpack® is made possible through corporate sponsorships and individual donations. This year’s premiere sponsors include Sentara Health and Wellpoint. VOACC is excited to have Sentara join the campaign as a first-time sponsor this year to support underprivileged youth in Virginia. They are also excited to welcome back Wellpoint as a multi-year sponsor to support youth in the Maryland and DC areas.
“Sentara is proud to join Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas in their Operation Backpack® campaign,” said Occasio Gee, Human Resources Communications Manager for Sentara. “We feel that it is vital that all children, regardless of their situation, have access to new backpacks, school supplies, and support. We are preparing them for a successful school year and a successful future.”
From July 7 through Sept. 1, VOACC and its partners invite the community to get involved by signing up to host supply drives within their communities, becoming a sponsor, starting online fundraising teams, and making monetary donations. Supplies will be provided to students from income-constrained families in VOACC’s supportive housing and behavioral health programs as well as partnering Title 1 schools.
Drop off brand-new backpacks and supplies at IKEA, 2901 Potomac Mills Circle, Woodbridge, on Friday, Aug. 4 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.