INDIANAPOLIS – Join us today as we’re on a mission to help local kids start the school year the right way.

It’s called Operation Backpack.

“It’s the greatest thing that any school could ever ask for or wish for,” said Adrienne Kuchik, the Principal for James A. Garfield Elementary School in Indianapolis.

Families are spending a lot of money right now getting their kids ready to head back to the classroom.

“If you have two kids, it’s around $800 in supplies,” explained Kuchik.

Operation Backpack is a huge relief for teachers because school supplies are essential.

“Number one, most important thing,” she added, “That’s where we do all of our work.”

But with rising prices, the reality is some kids may not be fully prepared to head back to class. According to the National Retail Federation, there’s a 40 percent increase in back to school spending.

That’s where Volunteers of America steps in.

“It’s just here and ready for them, so that’s a really huge burden off of not only students and parents, but teachers because we a lot of times end of funding that, but also parents as well,” said Kuchik.

Operation Backpack runs on community support, and this is their final push to raise awareness. The donation drive hopes to provide 500 IPS students, like principal Kuchik’s, what they need to feel empowered.

“You can pick the school supplies you want to donate, backpacks, whatever it is you want to give, or you can donate monetarily, and it’ll all go directly to Indianapolis Public Schools,” said Nicole Toombs, with Volunteers of America, “They’re so happy and you know, it’s heartbreaking though to hear some kids have never had these things. So, it really is life changing for them and it makes such a difference in their lives.”

Removing the barrier so all kids can show up on day one, with their backpacks full of pencils, notebooks, folders and more, ready to learn.

“When they open it, it’s like Christmas,” said Kuchik.

Again, your donation will fund new backpacks and supplies for IPS students who need them most. The drive runs until the end of the day Friday. 

Click here to learn more about Volunteers of America’s efforts and donate.