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Back-to-school backpack program accepting donations

The deadline is approaching for donating backpacks and school supplies to the Cornell Elves Summer Backpack Program.

Backpacks filled with school supplies, donated and collected at Cornell, were delivered to more than 1,200 schoolchildren in the region in 2018.

Bring filled backpacks no later than Aug. 23 to East Hill Office Building Suite 110, or contact one of the designated “Elf leaders” at Cornell listed on the program website to inquire about donations to a particular school.

The program will deliver new backpacks filled with supplies to recipients at 28 area schools this year, providing for children entering kindergarten through sixth grade in time for the first day of school. In 2018, the initiative provided 1,224 new, filled backpacks to 27 schools including districts in Chemung, Schuyler, Tioga and Tompkins counties.

A new backpack and all supplies – a checklist is provided – can be purchased for around $20 to $25 at stores holding back-to-school sales. 

The annual backpack program began in the fall of 2007, with 284 backpacks donated to 12 schools. The effort has grown to include support from Cornell employees and students; local families; businesses donating new supplies; the Girl Scouts and other organizations.

To make monetary donations, mail a check (made out to “The Elves”) to Maureen Brull, 395 Pine Tree Road, EHOB Suite 110, Ithaca, New York 14850. This program is entirely volunteer-run; all money goes directly to help children. Contact Brull at for more information.

– Daniel Aloi

Media Contact

Abby Butler