World Trade Center Hosts Volunteers of America and Operation Backpack

The Westfield concierge desk, in the nexus of the World Trade Center’s iconic Oculus, became the drop-off point for the Operation Backpack drive for three days in July.  

Westfield World Trade Center joined forces with Under Armour to help ensure every child living in a New York City homeless or domestic violence shelter has a new backpack, and the grade-specific school supplies they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond. 

Over three days in July the Westfield concierge desk, in the nexus of the World Trade Center’s iconic Oculus and passed by more than 100,000 people each day, became the drop-off and focal point for the Volunteers of America Operation Backpack drive.  

New York City’s homeless and domestic violence shelters are home to more than 23,000 school age children who are experiencing homelessness and in need of backpacks and essential educational supplies for the start of the school year. In one year alone, the number of children in need has increased 53% since 2022. 

Westfield World Trade Center was honored to be a New York City hub for backpack donations, and to bolster the effort the center teamed with their Under Armour store who offered customers 20% off their entire purchase in store when buying a backpack to donate. 

Although the Oculus was the focal point, the Westfield World Trade Center team integrated Operation Backpack into other core touch points across the World Trade Center campus including the outdoor “Wellness Wednesdays” fitness event and “Explore Cortlandt” lunchtime live music series, supported with a month long out of home public service announcement campaign across the centers 22 high-impact digital advertising screens, including the iconic 100-yard-long screen, one of New York City’s largest.  

In addition to collecting backpacks, the Operation Backpack team also received monetary donations enabling the additional purchase of backpacks, while also raising awareness of their mission, recruiting many new supporters for years to come. 

For more information and to make a donation to help buy backpacks, click here


With a global portfolio of premier consumer destinations–including airports, transit, and shopping centers—URW is uniquely positioned to help showcase brands at their best and connect local communities and organizations to our programs.