OAR Project Backpack 2022 | Back-to-school Children & Families Program

Run time: July 2022 – October 2022

OAR’s Project Backpack supports children and families with a parent experiencing incarceration or has been recently released from incarceration for the upcoming 2022-2023 academic school year. This program was created to help strengthen and mend the bond that is often strained and broken as a family member experiences incarceration. OAR will be working with the residents in the local facilities as well as participants involved in our direct services programs for Project Backpack.

In the past, OAR has hosted a back-to-school drive collecting new backpacks and school supplies for children and families impacted by incarceration. The pandemic allowed us to spruce up our liberation practices and center participants more deeply. Starting 2020 and moving forward, we are providing gift card/e-gift card/check to each family involved in this program to limit the number of physical items being passed around.

With that in mind, the goal for this program is to provide each child with a $50 gift card/e-gift card/cash/check. This way, the families can choose to use these gift cards/funds for whatever they need. Along with each gift card, each child will also receive a letter from their parent experiencing incarceration, letting them know that the gift is coming from them and wishing them luck in the upcoming school year.

Please see more below on how to support OAR’s Project Backpack and where you can donate. Your gifts towards this program will help us purchase gift cards for each child, help with the mailing of all of the gift cards and letters, and purchasing any supplies and resources needed for this program.


  • Donate online on the OAR website on our Children and Families programs donation form here. We will be collecting donations for Project Backpack until the September 10th, 2021.
  • Mail a check to the OAR P.O Box (P.O. Box 41030, Arlington, VA 22204) for Project Backpack. Please include a note that the check donation is specifically for OAR’s Project Backpack program.
  • Mail gift card donations to places like VISA, Target, Amazon, Walmart, preferably in denominations of $25 and $50, to the OAR P.O Box (P.O. Box 41030, Arlington, VA 22204) for Project Backpack. Please include a note that the gift card are specifically for OAR’s Project Backpack program.
  • Host a gift card drive on OAR’s behalf! Mailed VISA gift cards have been a very popular option chosen by the families in this program (with Target and Amazon gift cards coming in second and third place for most wanted). If you are intersted in hosting a gift card drive on OAR’s behalf, please contact Stephannie Ku at sku@oaronline.org.
  • Volunteer for Project Backpack! We are currently looking for volunteers to help us with data entry and guardian outreach phone calls, as well as local volunteers in the DMV/Arlington area to help us go out and purchase gift cards/mail gift cards. All volunteers will be reimbursed. If you are interested in volunteering for Project Backpack in any capacity, please contact Stephannie Ku at sku@oaronline.org.

For all questions, volunteer inquiries, and more please contact Stephannie Ku at sku@oaronline.org