Volunteers fill 8,000 backpacks for new school year

STORY: About 160 of them will be working for the next two days at the Salvation Army's Harlem Community Center, starting on Wednesday.

TK Lee came with a team of coworkers from PricewaterhouseCoopers to help.

"I think it's important to come together in this time of a trial and the challenging time for everyone," said TK Lee. "And to show everyone that they're not alone, and we can show them love and humanity, and that this world is still... it's a good place to live."

The initiative came from a nonprofit New York Cares that teamed up with the Salvation Army Greater New York Division.

The backpacks will be delivered to 30 schools and community partners in-need across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, according to Sapreet K. Saluja, executive director at nonprofit New York Cares.

"We're focused on communities that have been exponentially impacted by food insecurity, economic challenges, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Saluja. "There'll be over 8,000 students who receive these backpacks full of these important supplies that they'll need to start off the school year right."

The initiative comes as the National Retail Federation estimates that parents will spend about $864 on average for clothes, shoes, school supplies and electronics for their K-through-12 students, totaling around $37 billion in 2022, on par with last year's record number.

Many parents can't afford such an expense and are cutting back on supplies, according to Katherine Cullen, senior director at the National Retail Federation.

This year's campaign goal is $700,000.