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YMCA Launches 16th Year of Operation Backpack

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HOUSTON, TX – The YMCA of Greater Houston is proud to announce the 16th year of YMCA Operation Backpack, accepting virtual donations now through August 7, 2020. The annual drive is held to provide new school supplies and backpacks to students in need from Houston and surrounding areas, empowering them with both the tools and confidence they need to start the school year successfully. Although the drive may look a little different this year as it is being held virtually, families will still receive the same supplies.

“We are certain the people of Houston and beyond have big hearts and care about our community. This deep caring for our children will help make this drive possible,” states Stephen Ives, President and CEO, YMCA of Greater Houston. “This is about more than backpacks, it’s about our community demonstrating their concern and care for our neighbors during this time – getting young families the resources they need.”




The YMCA of Greater Houston urges the community to help meet the growing need in Houston where more than 25% of children ages 17 and under live below the poverty line. This need has become exacerbated due to the global pandemic’s effects on the economy, and school supplies can cost families up to $200 per child each year.

Below is a list of how contributions can be made to one of the state’s largest back-to-school drives:

  • Donate online by visiting
  • Text YMCABACKPACK to 24365 to donate
  • Make a donation at the register of your local H-E-B or online with a curbside order

All funds raised through this initiative will be used to purchase packaged school supplies and backpacks to be distributed to children in need across the Greater Houston Area.




At this time, the YMCA of Greater Houston understands that local independent school districts are awaiting final guidance from the Texas Education Agency for the 2020-2021 school year, although no matter the outcome and no matter if youth will be participating in an in-person or remote learning environment, they will need the necessary tools to return to learning.

“Last year, I watched the thousands of young people who received this gift and saw the sparkle and enthusiasm in their eyes,” states Ives. “It never fails to remind me that connections happen in our community, and the role of the Y is to be whatever resource we need to be in order to bring the community together.”

In years past, children and families of the YMCA were able to attain the backpacks and supplies via registration and on-site distribution days. This year, youth in need will need to still register, and receive supplies via drive-thru distribution. To receive more information about receiving supplies, please contact your local YMCA.




Partners of YMCA Operation Backpack are KTRK-TV, 89.3 KSBJ and H-E-B. Sponsors of this year’s YMCA Operation Backpack event are CITGO and Ashley HomeStore.

For more information about the YMCA of Greater Houston or ways to get involved, please visit, and follow the organization on Facebook @YMCAHouston and Instagram @YMCAHouston.


Founded in 1886, today the Y remains committed to the health of more than half a million people in Greater Houston who learn, grow and thrive through programs and services at our 25 centers. Strengthening community is our cause. Together, we connect active, engaged Greater Houston Area residents to build a better us. For more information, visit