For thousands of children who live in New York City’s shelter system, the first day of school isn’t like that. When necessary school supplies aren’t affordable for families living in shelters, these kids start the school year at a critical disadvantage from their peers.

Imagine being a high school student without notebooks, pens, or a calculator. Imagine being a kindergartner without crayons and scissors.

Project First Day takes care of all these “little things” that so many families cannot: new school supplies, a first day of school outfit, and a backpack.  Kids don’t need much to start the school year—but having what they need makes a big difference. We're dedicated to making their first day of school the best day of school. 

Join Project First Day and help thousands of our city’s most vulnerable children and teens start their school year the way everyone else does. 


Tonight 60,067 people will sleep in nyc shelters. 

24,704 of them will be children.

The fundamental cause of homelessness is the lack of affordable housing.   

By every measure, New Yorkers have experienced a widening gap between incomes and rents. This affordability gap has been catastrophic for poor and low-income New Yorkers, who, in recent years, have seen their income fall or stagnate at the same time that apartment rents continued to rise. 

The widening gap between incomes and rents has contributed to rising number of evictions and, therefore, to the rising number of homeless families living in shelters

Until this crisis is resolved, Project First Day is committed to helping our city’s children and teens in need start the school year just like everyone else in their class. 






Project First Day is dedicated to making the first day of school the best day of school by providing low-income children with everything they need to start the school year with the desire, excitement, and confidence to move to the head of the class. 

Project First Day partners with local agencies to identify children and teens in need in grades K through 12. The agencies we’re working with in 2015 include Women In Need (WIN), Longlife, and Supportive Children’s Advocacy Network (SCAN).

Project First Day then collaborates with local companies, church groups, clubs, and other organizations who are willing to sponsor these children. 

Over the summer, sponsors purchase a backpack with a first day of school outfit, a new book, and write a letter of encouragement to the child or teen they’re sponsoring.

Project First Day also spends the summer raising funds for grade-specific school supplies that will accompany each backpack. 

In 2015, PROJECT First Day and sponsors provided: 

460   Backpacks and first day of school outfits
4,000   Pens, pencils, notebooks, and other school supplies


Sponsoring a child includes purchasing a backpack, a first day of school outfit, a new book, and writing a short letter of encouragement. Because there are so many children in need, we’re looking for companies and other organizations who have at least 15 employees or members who are willing to sponsor a child. If your company, club, church group, or other organization would like to sponsor children, please contact  


If you’re an individual who wants to help, we absolutely need donations for school supplies to accompany each backpack and first day of school outfit. Project First Day makes sure that each sponsored child receives grade-appropriate school supplies for their first day of school.



At Project First Day , we believe passionately in the power of education to change lives. Children who are living in poverty need the opportunities that come from having access to a good education.

Project First Day works with individuals and companies to make sure that children from pre-K through high school start the academic year with the school supplies they need.

By offering support to our city’s poorest children, we help strengthen our families, our communities, and our city.

When school starts in the fall of 2015, every sponsored child and teen will have a new backpack with an outfit, shoes, a new book, and the school supplies they need for the year.

Project First Day is a program of Stockings With Care, a 501(c)3 organization, and all donations are tax-deductible. Project First Day was started in 1992 and you can meet the Board members here