Nonprofits Providing Backpacks For Kids In Need

By: Alan Pollock

Going back to school after summer break is stressful enough for kids. But if you’re a youngster whose family struggles to make ends meet, having to show up with a crummy backpack is another worry. Two local nonprofits are working to alleviate that stress by ensuring kids have new backpacks, fully stocked with school supplies, in time for the start of classes.

This will be the 20th year that the Orleans-based Homeless Prevention Council organizes its annual “Backpack to School” program, and the group is asking supporters to pitch in and have fun shopping for local youngsters. It’s bound to be a big school year for youngsters who spent last year in and out of in-person classes because of the pandemic.

“The kids are really going back to school this year,” HPC Executive Director Hadley Luddy wrote. “Let’s have some fun!”

Among the items needed this year are 24-packs of Dixon Ticonderoga number two pencils; four-packs of thin dry-erase markers; spiral and composition notebooks; large glue sticks; ballpoint pens in blue, black, red and green; 12-packs of Crayola thin markers and Crayola colored pencils, and 24-packs of Crayola crayons. Donors are also encouraged to give financial contributions – which are used to purchase the backpacks themselves – and gift cards for shoes.

This year, HPC is partnering with the Nauset Rotary Club, Orleans Police Department, Nauset Marine, and Staples. Donations can be brought to those locations or to HPC’s offices at 14 Old Tote Rd. in Orleans. To find out more, or if your family would like to receive help from the program, call 508-255-9667. More information is available at

While the HPC backpack drive serves Lower and Outer Cape families, Monomoy Community Services and the Chatham Children’s Fund have their own special drive for Chatham kids.

From now through the start of the school year, Monomoy Community Services is collecting new backpacks for local kids for distribution before school starts. In addition to new backpacks, the drive is accepting tax-deductible financial donations.

“This annual community project has generous support from the Chatham Chamber and Merchants

Association, local businesses, organizations, clubs and individuals,” organizers wrote in an announcement. Donations can be brought to Monomoy Community Services at 166 Depot Rd. in Chatham. For more information, call 508-945-1501 or visit