What is the Backpack Challenge?


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, 96.5 Amp Radio & 92.5 XTU, and Valley Youth House.
This cause marketing collaboration provides direct benefits for all partners involved: government & nonprofit partners receive backpacks and monetary support, the retail partner drives in store traffic and increases sales, and the media partner is able to build publicity of a philanthropic endeavor into their media sales package.

Most importantly, young people ​in foster care are given the tools needed to pursue and achieve their educational goals through the support of their own communities. From 2013 to 2014 in Philadelphia, the number of collection site partners more than doubled, 5,173 backpacks were collected, and over $36,000 was raised.

The national program in Atlanta, Baltmore, Cleveland & Detroit area Five Below stores will run from July 24 to August 9.


Want to support the Backpack Challenge?

A donation of $500 can provide a laptop to a youth attending college without access to a personal computer.

A donation of $100 can provide dorm room essentials to a youth beginning college.

A donation of $50 can purchase text books and supplies for a college course or training program.

A donation of $25 can purchase a backpack stuffed with school supplies to a youth in need.

Sending a warm welcome to our new partners for 2015:


Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Family and Children Services in Atlanta

Cuyahoga County Children & Family Services in Cleveland

Wayne County Children & Family Services in Detroit

Maryland Department of Human Resources in Baltimore


David Simms
David Simms
Proprietor/Artist, Eatible Delights Catering

We're so excited to share that David Simms will be our Keynote Speaker at the Backpack Challenge Closing Ceremony!

The Closing Ceremony will be held Wednesday, August 26, 1pm-3pm

at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

 In 1996 Chef David Simms formed Eatible Delights Catering and landed his first large job: being selected to participate in the 1996 All Star game. While coming up through the ranks, Chef Simms worked for The Olive Garden and Restaurant Associates while continuing to build Eatible Delights Catering. Chef Simms graduated from Philadelphia OIC (Opportunities Industrialization Center, Inc.) in August of 2000, where he gained valuable instructional training.

In 2002 Chef Simms began working with La Terrase restaurant and received formal training under Chef David Greer. In 2003 Chef Simms opened David’s Place Restaurant, which moved to Ridge Avenue and became the commissary for Eatible Delights Catering in 2006. During that time, Chef Simms also operated a concession stand at Citizens Bank Park.

Today, Eatible Delights Catering is known throughout the Delaware Valley and beyond, and is moving toward 200 events annually. Chef David Simms is a regular contributor for the Fox29 Morning Show, Talk Philly with Ukee Washington, and Urban Suburban Magazine.

Thank you to our 2015 sponsors!

Donate to the Backpack Challenge in Atlanta, GA here:

Donate to the Backpack Challenge in Detroit, MI here:

Donate to the Backpack Challenge in Baltimore, MD here:

Donate to the Backpack Challenge in Philadelphia, PA here:

Donate to the Backpack Challenge in Cleveland, OH here: