Montclair Operation Backpack 2020 – Support Needed For Virtual Collection Drive

Montclair Community Operation Backpack, an annual local effort that’s part of the larger initiative — Volunteers of America-Greater New York Operation Backpack® — collects filled backpacks every year for children living in homeless and domestic violence shelters.

Montclair’s Kimya Nilsen with backpacks collected last year. This year, she needs to collect virtually.

Organizer Kimya Nilsen says collecting physical backpacks is not feasible in this environment. She writes:

Ordinarily we rely on receiving 200-300 full backpacks from our community, plus additional $3000+ in monetary donations to help purchase supplies to fill backpacks from scratch with the help of volunteers – but not this year. With employees largely working remotely, and social distancing guidelines in place, we cannot count on things returning to normal in time to conduct Operation Backpack® in the usual way. For this year only, we must do things differently, if we are to meet the needs of the 19,000 homeless children who will benefit from this year’s drive.

As we adjust to this reality, we are having to make financial commitments to vendors quickly in order to deliver the large quantities of products we need by August, to replace those that are normally donated. To accomplish this, Operation Backpack® must raise $600,000. I am asking our community to raise $15,000 of those needed funds.

Here’s what your donation can do:

$100 equals:

5 Pre-K or Kindergarten backpacks filled with school supplies


4 Elementary school backpacks filled with school supplies

$200 equals:

4 Middle school or high school backpacks filled with supplies

Donate here. Questions can be sent to or visit

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