Office Depot National Backpack Program

For many families, the start of the school year is filled with excitement and anticipation. Besides the excitement of new classes, teachers, and friends comes the excitement of new school supplies like backpacks, lunch gear, and even simpler things new crayons and pencils. For some families, with this excitement comes worry because these things cost money and when money is tight, it’s hard to know how to provide for even these seemingly basic things.

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Office Depot recognized that there are, in fact, families all over the country that are struggling to provide things like back-to-school gear to their children. They saw the need, came up with a creative and practical way to help, and in 2001 they started the National Backpack Program. From 2001 to the end of 2013, Office Depot had donated a total of over 3 million sackpacks! In 2014, their goal is to donate 350,000 sackpacks! Office Depot has teamed up with nonprofits all around the United States and internationally to identify children and families in need and then get the sackpacks to them to they can join in on the back-to-school excitement and are well prepared for a successful year.

Each sackpack is new, with a trendy, colorful, kid-friendly pattern. The only tag on the sackpacks is a removable one. Other than that, there are no logos or tags attached to the sackpacks so they are not at all identifiable as having been received as a donation. Office Depot didn’t want children to be concerned about others thinking they were given a charity item and feeling embarased. They wanted the children using these sackpacks to feel proud. After having seen these sackpacks in person, I definitely think the team behind the Office Depot National Backpack Program accomplished their goal!

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We had the chance to review two different sackpacks and were very impressed. The quality far surpassed my expectations. The sackpacks are made of sturdy, high quality, washable material. The colors and designs are vibrant, cute, and dare I say “cool”! You can see from the photos that they are the kinds of bags that close with a drawstring piece of string which then loops around your shoulders. Despite their high quality, they are still quite lightweight, perfect for a child. They are very spacious and will fit several books, toys, snacks, or lunch items. They are comfortable to wear and fit both kids and adults. Besides using them for school, they would be great for day trips or a travel bag.

Each sackpack comes with a plastic pencil bag filled with a pencil, pen, ruler with stencils, crayons, pencil sharpener, and eraser.

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I love hearing about large organizations that find ways to give back to the community. The Office Depot National Backpack Program is fantastic. It is inspiration to see how they have found such a creative and quality way to give to children and families who deserve the best but maybe can’t afford it. But beyond them just giving, it’s amazing to see them giving something that is so high quality. I was impressed when I heard about this program but even more impressed when I had the chance to view the sackpacks in person.

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