Backpacks for Everyone

My heart is still reeling with my puggle, Louie’s, sudden sickness. But I’m a firm believer that the best way to lift ourselves up, is to lift someone else. This is my chance to do exactly that, and it’s yours, too. Join me?

As a former teacher, my heart skips a (literal) beat at the the thought of new school supplies. I love neat piles of notebooks, brand new pens, and erasers in every color.

It’s not lost on me that Jason and I are fortunate enough to be able to gift our kids new school supplies yearly. They start off their school years with new backpacks and school boxes filled to the brim with what they need to learn.

The thought of a school supply shopping trip being a hardship for a fellow mama breaks my heart. According to the Kids Count Data Center, in 2012, 23% of children in our nation were living in poverty — that’s more than 16 million kids. For their mamas, looking at an ever-growing school supply list doesn’t feel like one more thing to do, it feels like a heart-panging how can I do this?

I think we can help.


On the day that the kids and I went to buy their school supplies — lists in hand, excitement overwhelming, shopping cart blessedly full — Staples reached out to me to partner on their “Firsts” campaign to celebrate the first day of school.

In exchange for amazing back to school items for my kids, I would write about the magic of the first day of school. How it feels to send them off. The butterflies-in-the-tummy feeling I get as they start something new, and the fingers that I cross that their years and their teachers and their friends will be magical.


First day of school 2009


First day of school 2011


First day of school 2013

But we had just bought everything on their lists. And I thought that instead of my kids having what they need plus some and someone else’s kids not having what they need, what if we split the difference? And all of our babies went to school with new backpacks and a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils?

In a series of sixteen emails, here’s what I learned —

Staples was beyond on board with the idea of Backpacks for Everyone. We not only swapped my gifts-for-pay for twenty-five backpacks for kids who need them, but Staples also offered to fill the backpacks with notebooks, pens, and pencils.

So if you could use help getting a backpack for your student this year, please say so in the comments (this can be Anonymous, but please leave your email address so I can get in touch).

And if you can help another mama send her baby off to school with a backpack, please say that in the comments, too. My hope is to match (backpack) need with heart, and I’m looking at you to partner with me to do this.


Kindergarten backpacks circa Kayli 2009, Chloe 2011, and Brody 2014

The first twenty-five backpacks are on Staples, packaged and delivered by my kids and I. Who’s next?

Let’s make back-to-school the exciting time it’s meant to be — together.

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  1. Oh Galit. This doesn’t surprise me at all about you- and your generous spirit and giving loving family!!! Bless your beautiful heart for going above and beyond for a good reason…

    And you are so right. There is nothing more healing and uplifting than giving.

    I will share, in hopes to help you help others.

    • Oh thank you, Chris, so very much. I know your heart works like mine — and that you get how much this means to me!

  2. This is truly wonderful and generous of you and Staples, my friend. xo

  3. I’d be happy to help! What a lovely, generous idea. Sending love & strength at this time of mixed emotions for your family. Awed and inspired by your ability to think of others in the midst of it all…xo

    • Oh Dina, thank you — so, so much — for all of the above! I feel what you’re sending me and you’re *first* on the list to give after Staples! Love! xo

  4. This is a wonderful thing you and Staples are doing. I hope one day I am able to help out also.

  5. What a beautiful idea! I wish I had the means to do this, but I find my self in need of help with supplies! I have four out of six going to school this year, unfortunately our family is still recovering from my husbands permanent layoff so its been a bit difficult filling the supply needs of my lil kindergartener (we bought bulk supplies last year with the intent of using them this year but thought to wait on my lil boys stuff since we had no idea what he would need, I definitely look back on that day and wished we had at least purchased the basics for him, but how is one to tell the future :) )

    • Oh Racheal, yes. A million times over, yes. What I wouldn’t give for that crystal ball every now and then!

      Do you need help this year? Please let me know, I’d be so very happy to help!


  6. My Grandkids 2 going to school could use one one is 7 and one will be 4 both girls

    • Thank you, Audra, so much!

      I’ll be in touch this week. I’m so excited to be able to help your sweet grandkids!

  7. My three kids are going back to school in September would like some help boy 11, boy 8, and girl 8. Thank you and God bless you to continue in helping parents and kids.

    • Thank you, Nora, for the note and for the chance to help your loves.

      I’ll be in touch this week. Honored, happy.

  8. please let me know how I can help and I Know a couple that needs help Please get in touch with me blogger MOM

    • Hi Laurie,

      Thank you so much for this note! I’m thrilled that you can help and know someone we can help! That’s a perfect full circle as far as I’m concerned!

      I’ll be in touch this week — if you’re able to leave me how many backpacks and for what grades/ages the backpacks will be for, that would be amazing!

      Thank you, again, Laurie, so very much!

  9. Karen Jones says:

    My son and I would like to do this. :-)

  10. We would love to help. Please let me know how.


  11. This is just so awesome it has me in tears. Our family reaches out to a family that has a lot of needs. There are 3 boys, whom are going into 4th, 5th and 6th grades and a 3 year old girl starting preschool. The 3 boys all have special needs and disorders such as autism, adhd, ODD, ptsd…ect. and their single mom also has her disabled mom living with them. Her mom suffered a stroke 8 months ago and she is taking care of her while we find alternative assisted housing for her. We spend most of any extra money we have on feeding this family, driving them to doctor appointments or where ever they need to go because they don’t have a car. They have so many needs and we just can’t keep up with them. I have been praying for a way to help them get back packs and their school supplies, not to mention clothes and shoes that they need. While I can have these children at my house to eat with us daily and wash their clothes and some of them spend the night at our house almost nightly, there is only so much our family can do to help them. If all the back packs haven’t been taken, I would love to see these children each get one. Thank you so much!

    • Oh Lori, your heart. Yes. I, we, have you covered.

      I’ll be in touch this week!

      Thank you, so very much, for reaching out and for the opportunity to help!


  12. What an incredible blessing you are! This Summer has been especially difficult and we are finding the back to school expenses to be a challenge. We have 2 going back to school the end of August, a girl 12 and a boy 10. Thank you so much!!

  13. Would love to help!

  14. I love this so much. I’m in!

  15. I’d love to help! Please let me know how my family can participate.

  16. Do you match for each community? I live in Bend OR and would like to help students in need. We do have a staples in town.

    • Hello Val!

      Thank you so much for your note! I’m not trying to match by location right now, but please let me know if you’d like to be matched to send a backpack to someone who needs one!


  17. I can help fill backpacks!!! Anyway you need!!!! Let me know where I can give time or money!!
    Thanks for doing this!!!!!!


  18. Megan Hernandez says:

    I have a backpack. It was purchased a year ago, but it has hardly been used. It’s sparkly blue with Ariel on it. It’s beautiful. My sister just likes to spoil my daughter so she bought her a new one for kindergarten even though the one she bought her for preschool is in perfect condition since it was never used! If anyone is interested I would be more than happy to send it.

    • Oh Megan, I think I know *exactly* who that pretty backpack should go to!

      I’ll be in touch this week, and thank you — truly!


  19. Monica Peterson says:

    It is apparent that you a gift from God! I have been praying for some help for getting my boys ready for school. My husband and I have 2 boys needing school supplies. Five years ago, after the birth of my son, I had an aneurysm and a stroke. I am now on disability after working as a school teacher. My family struggles with finances. My sons are 10 and 5. The 5 year old is attending kindergarten this year. He is so excited! I would love bookbags for them! I pray soon that I will be able to give back too! Thank you.

    • Thank you, Monica, for this note and for the chance to help — both mean so much to me and I’m so, so happy we can help!

      I’ll be in touch this week!


  20. EJ (Jane) says:

    Hope, that’s the 1st word that came to mind as I read your post. I have been through some pretty rough patches over the years, but now with things coming to a sense of normalcy we donate time & enter contests to give to those who need a little “Hope”. From food, cribs strollers & theme park tickets we give what we have won.
    To me Social Media is a Gift I get to open everyday, not everybody has this luxury. But Paying It Forward has become a Way of Life for our a Family.

    • Hello Jane,

      I’m with you — so much goodness comes from Hope! And I love what you have to say about social media — I see it the exact same way. So very much goodness there.

      Thank you for the note and, of course, for the Hope.


  21. I think it is so wonderful what you are doing for families in need. My family has had a horrible year. We’ve been homeless moving from one family’s house to another. Originally from Philadelphia we recently moved to Georgia with cousins hopping to start fresh. My husband is jobless and we have nothing. I keep telling my kids that as long as we have each other everything will be okay. It is so hard to keep my spirits high when I feel like we’re never gonna have a home of our own again. I have 3 kids. My daughter is in 5th grade and my son is in 2nd grade and my little one is only 2. We’re not able to buy school supplies or backpacks. We struggle with the necessities. I’m trying to stay positive and be there for my kids. I hope that one day we will be able to have a home again. That’s my only wish a home of our own and a job for my husband. Receiving school supplies for my kids would be a blessing and a huge uplifted for my family. I appreciate what you are doing for families in need and I hope that one day I will be on the other side and able to do the same for families in need. Thank you so very much.

    • Hello Jennifer,

      Thank you for your note and for sharing your story and for giving me/us the chance to help. I’m sending all good thoughts (and backpacks! :)) your way!

      I’ll be in touch this week!


  22. I’m finally back online after a long hiatus and what a great post to come back to. We have similar programs around town here and every year I toss in extra school supplies. This year, because of this post, I’ll see if I can give a full knapsack.
    Thanks for being inspiring yet again!

  23. We would love to participate. Thank you!

  24. We have several backpacks that have been used by my kids, but still in good condition. I’m happy to send them along if that helps! Do we just mail them to you and you distribute? Not sure how it works! Thank you for what you are doing to help these families!!

    • Hello Ashley,

      Thank you so much for the note, I so appreciate it! Right now, I’m matching people who are in a position to help with those who can use some help. I’ll be in touch this week if there’s a home (or a school, I guess!) for the backpacks you mentioned and you would mail the backpacks to them.

      Thank you, again, so, so very much for being willing to help!


  25. I have a few gently used back packs. Where can I send them?

    • Hello Jen,

      Thank you so much for being willing to help. That is so incredibly nice of you. Right now I’m matching families who need backpacks with people who are in a position to give them. I will definitely (definitely) be in touch about the backpacks you mentioned if I find a sweetie who needs them and then you would send the backpacks to them.

      I can’t thank you enough for this note, and your willingness to help.


  26. Deanna Bermillo says:

    My two children 1st grade and 3 rd grade are in need of backpacks
    With supplies. My husband has been unemployed for 7 months,
    And we live in a very expensive area. It is hard to make ends meet
    Survivng on unemployment. Any help is appreciated.

    • Hello Deana,

      Thank you so much for getting in touch with me and for the chance to help; I’m honored.

      I’ll be in touch this week.


  27. I could use a little help :(

    • Hello Tanya,

      Thank you so much for reaching out to me! I’m so honored to be able to help! Please let me know how old/what grade your kid(s) are and I’ll we’ll lessen this load together.

      Thank you, again. I’m happy to “meet” you,

  28. tami sanchez says:

    what a wonderful thing you are doing! thank-you! my 4 grandchildren could use a backpack and school supplies this year. my daughter is a single mom trying to make ends meet! they are all boys! hehe! 10, 8, 7, and 5! thanks so much for any help!

    • Hello Tami,

      Thank you so much for reaching out to me and for the chance to help. I so appreciate both!

      I’ll be in touch this week!


  29. LadiiNred304 says:

    As a single struggling mother of 2 I know all to well of how hard it is to try and get prepare for a new school year. When you live check to check and the checks aren’t even enough to maintain bills the thought of where you are going to get money for school clothes is always one that I can never answer. What you are doing is wonderful and hope that someone in our community would offer the assistance.

  30. Srburns32 says:

    I also def could use the help

  31. I’d love to help, if you know someone with a need. What an amazing heart you have to organize this!

    • Hello Steph,

      Thank you so much for this note! I can’t tell you how much it means to me! I’ll be in touch this week — thank you a million times over for being willing to help!


  32. Elizabeth says:

    If it’s not too late, I’d love to help! I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

    • Hello Elizabeth!

      Thank you so much for being willing to help — it means the world to me! I will be definitely be in touch as soon as there’s a need/match! All of this kindness is the absolute best, isn’t it?

      Talk soon!

  33. Hi,

    I created a single mothers association years ago, on a volunteer basis, to meet the urgent needs of poverty-stricken moms and their children. The worst time of year is back to school, as fees, clothes, and school supplies just cripple the already tight budget. How can I be involved in this exciting initiative to get back packs for the single moms connected to the YWCA (where I work full-time) and my association.
    I applaud your initiative and would definitely circulate your poster to promote what you do in Montreal,
    Thank you,

    • Hello Danielle,

      Thank you so much for this note, and for the amazing work that you do! I agree completely that back to school is hard hard hard on budgets.

      I m (more than) happy to brainstorm how you can set up a similar system! (And ohmyheart the thought of this growing like that is amazing!

      Thank you again for reaching out to me, and talk soon!

  34. Hello,
    I have 2 children, a 7 year old girl and 5 year old boy. This time of year really stretches us; I find it almost harder than the holidays because we seem to find more resources then if we need assistance during that time of year. But the school supplies lists are long and can be quite a financial hardship. My husband got laid off and several years later we’re still trying to get ahead. Its humbling to ask, but any form of help you still may have would be greatly appreciated if this is still available! Many thanks.

    • Hello Roberta,

      I’m so very glad that you reached out to me and am humbled to be able to help. I’ll be in touch this week.



  1. […] Backpacks for Everyone – My dear author friend Galit Breen is matching children who need a backpack with those willing […]