New York, N.Y., August 21, 2014 Most children look forward to the beginning of the new school year. But for those in families where money is tight, this can be a challenging time.
To help deserving children like these start school on the right foot, the Office Depot Foundation is preparing to donate 4,000 colorful new sackpacks containing essential school supplies to nonprofit organizations, schools and agencies in the New York area. The Foundation – the independent charitable giving arm of Office Depot® (NYSE:ODP) – will make the donations during a special Back-to-School Celebration beginning at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, August 22 (8/22) at the Office Depot store located at 1441 Broadway, In New York City.
For the second year in a row, Nick Cannon – the award-winning actor, comedian, host of “America's Got Talent” – will be the special guest for the Foundation’s Back-to-School Celebration and will personally give sackpacks to the children who attend. Cannon also is participating in the Office Depot Foundation’s sackpack donation event in Los Angeles this summer.
In 2014, the Foundation will donate 350,000 sackpacks to children in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and a number of other countries through its National Backpack Program, which is now in its 14th year. During the past three years alone, this award-winning initiative has made a difference to more than 12,000 New York-area kids.
By the end of this year, Office Depot and the Office Depot Foundation will have given away more than 3.3 million backpacks and sackpacks since the National Backpack Program began in 2001.
“Each and every year, the smiles on the faces of the children who receive our sackpacks and school supplies warm our hearts,” says Office Depot Foundation President Mary Wong. “We are so proud to know that we will have made a difference to 3.3 million kids – and grateful to Office Depot and our many supporters for giving us the opportunity to continue this program for its 14th year.”
The nonprofit organizations, schools and agencies scheduled to receive sackpacks on August 22 include:
• New York City Department of Education
• Bronx Charter School for Better Learning
• Grand Concourse Academy
• Lighthouse Outreach Ministries
• Twelve Baskets Community Outreach
Special guests expected to participate include:
• Heidi Schmidt, Public Affairs Manager, Department of Homeless Services, representing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
• State Senator Brad Hoylman
• Nancy A. Conde, Chief of Staff, representing Senator Jose Peralta
• Laura Bucko, Vice President of Communications, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce
• Senator Ruth Hassell Thompson
The specially designed sackpacks come in seven bright and colorful designs that are new for 2014. Each one includes a zippered pouch containing a pen, pencil, pencil sharpener, eraser, six-inch ruler and four crayons. The sackpacks do not have any Office Depot Foundation or Office Depot logos or markings.
To deliver sackpacks directly to children, the Foundation is hosting Back-to-School Celebrations in more than 35 cities across the U.S. and in Puerto Rico in July and August.
Thousands of sackpacks are being given to kids through the Office Depot Foundation’s continuing partnerships with nine nonprofit organizations serving children nationally and internationally. The Foundation is collaborating with the AARP Experience Corps, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), the National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association, Feed The Children, Food For The Poor, the Kids In Need Foundation, the National Foundation for Women Legislators, Operation Homefront and Samaritan’s Feet International.
Thousands more are being donated through Office Depot and OfficeMax stores in hundreds of local communities and in partnership with Office Depot’s Business Solutions Division in select cities. For the seventh consecutive year, children of the Navajo Nation in Arizona will receive sackpacks.
More information about the National Backpack Program can be found on the Office Depot Foundation’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/officedepotfoundation. To learn more about the Office Depot Foundation and its initiatives, go to www.officedepotfoundation.org/. You can follow the Foundation on Twitter @OfficeDepotFndn; the National Backpack Program’s hashtag is #ODFcares. The Foundation is also on Instagram: @officedepotfoundation.
About the Office Depot Foundation
The Office Depot Foundation is an independent foundation − tax exempt under IRC Sec. 501(c)(3) − that serves as the independent charitable giving arm of Office Depot, Inc. In keeping with its mission, Listen Learn Care®, the Foundation supports a variety of programs that give children tools to succeed in school and in life; build the capacity of nonprofit organizations through collaboration and innovation; and help communities prepare for disasters, as well as recovering and rebuilding afterwards. For more information, visit www.officedepotfoundation.org.