Are you ready to take the Challenge?

The 2017 Backpack Challenge began on July 25th and will run through August 18th. Join us for the Closing Ceremony at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts on August 22nd at 1:00PM!

The Backpack Challenge raises funds and collects essential back to school items for foster care youth. From its humble beginnings, the Backpack Challenge has grown from a small collection drive to a national program due to the strong partnership between the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, Five Below, iHeartRadio, and Valley Youth House.

The Backpack Challenge gives young people in foster care the tools needed to pursue and achieve their educational goals through the support of their own communities. From 2013 to 2016 in Philadelphia, the number of collection site partners more than doubled and we raised over $100,000 for local youth.

This year, we’re hoping to stuff 2,000 backpacks and collect $30,000 to support the needs of local youth in foster care! View photos from our kickoff event here.

National Expansion

In 2015, we welcomed new partners in Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland and Detroit and raised over 10,000 backpacks in all five markets. In 2016, we welcomed Houston, Nashville, Raleigh/Durham and Washington, DC. 28,256 backpacks were collected across all markets thanks to the help of Five Below. Pittsburgh, Norfolk, Milwaukee, Orlando, Chicago, and more will be joining us in 2017!

Think you’re up for the challenge? Collections and our online drive have closed for the summer, but you can still donate now or volunteer to help!

2017 Backpack Challenge Collection Sites

Sponsor or Host a Collection Site

Information on sponsorships can be found here. If you’re interested in hosting a collection site or would like to learn more about sponsorship opportunities, email MaryGrace Joyce at

Want to help?

You can make a monetary donation, donate school supplies online via Roonga, or visit one of our collection site partners to drop off your donation.

When visiting your local Five Below store, you can donate a backpack at the register during checkout!

Thank you to our 2017 Backpack Challenge Sponsors!