While summer is upon us, it's never too early to start thinking about September and the start of the new school year. That means fresh blank notebooks, shiny new pens, colorful folders, bright yellow highlighters and a huge dent in your wallet.
Every year, Volunteers of America organizes Operation Backpack, a citywide effort to buy as many new backpacks as possible, fill them with school supplies geared towards the needs of each grade and put them in the hands of New York City's homeless kids.
Our quest was to find men and women who are chronically homeless around Fairfax County. But what seemed like "deep into the woods" was really only a stone's throw from gated communities and high-end shopping centers that make up the county, one of the nation's wealthiest.
Our national debt, and budget problems at all levels of government make it necessary for nonprofits to look more and more to the private sector for the monies they need to continue the good work that they do. To help the homeless, advocates must be creative.
Since 1902, Volunteers of America has used a familiar figure -- Sidewalk Santas -- to collect money for vital social services. For busy New Yorkers, the program is a simple way to contribute to charity.