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Volunteers Provide Stocked Backpacks To Thousands Of Students In Need

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As parents began their back-to-school shopping, countless families were in need of donations as they lacked the money to buy school supplies.

As CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu reported, hundreds of volunteers have stepped in, in an effort to make sure the kids in need do not fall through the cracks.

At Operation Backpack, volunteers have been loading up thousands of new backpacks for children who are living in homeless and domestic violence shelters throughout New York City.

Justine Adjoyi, 9, picked out a pink one, and she was psyched about school — especially two subjects.

“Math and reading,” said Justine, who is entering the fourth grade.

Justine’s brother, Dylen, went with a white backpack and had a message for everyone who donated.

“I would say thanks for giving me all these supplies for the beginning of school,” said Dylen, 12.

The backpacks will go to kids from pre-kindergarten to high school, and they have been filled with everything you can imagine.

In addition to regular school supplies, the backpacks also have a lot of other products inside — such as toothbrush, toothpaste and tissues.”

The project started a decade ago, and organizers said the need is stronger than ever.

“The number of families that are entering the shelter system is at an all-time high,” said Rachel Weinstein of Volunteers of America or Greater New York, “and we don’t see children on the street, thank goodness, but they’re there. They’re living in shelters. They’re going to school with our children.

The goal is to help the kids get excited about their future. Dylen showed CBS 2’s Hsu some examples of his passion of drawing.

“I did seven pages of these comics. I’m thinking of making more pages of them,” he said, adding that he might pursue such work as a career when he grows up.

Justine said her dream upon growing up is “living in a mansion,” and working as a lawyer or a teacher.

Operation Backpack started with 250 backpacks. This year, the goal is to deliver 19,000.

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