Operation Backpack

Operation Backpack

Operation Backpack is an annual drive to collect school supplies and backpacks for the children served by VOA Illinois and the surrounding community. For more information, email development@voail.org

Operation Backpack is an annual drive hosted by VOA Illinois to collect backpacks and school supplies for the youth we serve including children experiencing homelessness, children of the Veterans served by VOA Illinois, and children in all VOA Illinois youth programs. In addition to providing backpacks to the youth we serve, we also host a back-to-school event open to all community members and we partner with local schools, community organizations, and churches to distribute to students in need.

Our goal is to provide each child we serve with a brand new backpack and everything they need to start the school year off on a positive foot. We know without the proper materials and support a child will not succeed in the classroom.

Operation Backpack Individual Donor Image

Virtual: Individual

  1. Visit our online Roonga store: https://www.roonga.com/operationbackpack2024voail
  2. Purchase the backpacks and school supply kits you would like to donate.
  3. You’re all set! All school supplies bought from Roonga will be shipped directly to our VOA Illinois office!

Virtual: Team

  1. Visit our Roonga store: https://www.roonga.com/operationbackpack2024voail
  2. On the right under “Team Drives” select “Launch New Drive”. This team drive will have a unique link that you can share with your coworkers, friends, family, or anyone else.
  3. Set a specific goal for your team and start purchasing backpacks and school supplies! All supplies ordered on Roonga will be shipped directly to our VOA Illinois office!

In Person

  1. Purchase backpacks and school supplies on the checklist.
  2. Stuff the supplies into the backpacks.
  3. Drop off to designated company location (for teams) or directly to VOA Illinois (for individuals), located at 47 W. Polk St. Chicago, NO LATER than August 2nd.


We are always looking for volunteers to help us sort, stuff, tag, and organize backpacks! This year, our volunteer week will be from August 5th – August 9th. If you are interested in volunteering during this time, contact Sarah at skowal@voail.org, or visit our website for more details.


If shopping for school supplies is not your thing, or you are looking to get involved in other ways, no problem! You can make a donation to Operation Backpack here, OR reach out to development@voail.org for more information about sponsorship opportunities for our Back-to-School events!

Thank You To Our 2024 Partners!

If you or your company is interested in participating in Operation Backpack please contact our development team at:
312-564-2434  or development@voail.org

Past Operation Backpack Highlights!

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