Back To School the Right Way

Everyone knows the building anticipation as the kids get ready to go back to school. There’s excitement and nerves, eagerness to start a new year, sadness that summer is ending. Unfortunately, counting down the days to a new school year is yet another reminder of struggle for many kids across the country. Imagine how excitement would turn to trepidation if going back to school meant a supply list filled with items that mom and dad couldn’t afford, sneakers from last year that don’t quite fit, and hand-me-down clothes from older sibling that leave you feeling less than confident.

It’s hard to for struggling families to prepare for a successful school year when they are in the midst of crisis. Wherever homeless families end up staying, if it’s not a permanent, sustainable home, the children suffer incredibly from constant displacement and insecurity. If parents can’t afford a place to live, how will they equip their children with the supplies necessary to attend school?

image1FOCUS North America’s Back to School program involves parishes across the country in providing high quality backpacks, school supplies, and clothing to children when it is time to return to school. FOCUS works closely with school workers in every community to ensure that donated items are given to the kids who are experiencing homelessness, living in hotels, or doubled up with friends or family.

A study by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty found that there is no jurisdiction in the United States where a working family of four, earning the poverty threshold wage of $24,000, can afford even a one-bedroom home at fair market rates. This means that there are struggling families in your town. Even if the poverty is not always visible, it is always present.

FOCUS needs you to help meet these basic needs, and take the stress off of many hardworking families that are already stretched thin. Help us give kids everything they need to get back to school and succeed in acquiring an education.

FOCUS will send participating parishes high quality backpacks with a packing list of items to fill them with. Filled backpacks will be collected at the parish. Through our school district partnerships, FOCUS will ensure the backpacks and supplies are given to the kids with the greatest need in your own city.

If you know your parish, SOYO, church school, women’s group, or other group would love an opportunity to bring FOCUS’ Back To School program to your town, contact us today! This is a great opportunity for groups that regularly work with FOCUS, as well as new communities who may be just figuring out the best way to serve.

2016 Summer Feeding has begun! Join us today!

This summer, through our Summer Feeding Program, FOCUS will serve 46,000 meals in eight cities across seven states. And this is just the beginning. We hope to expand this program each year to new cities and sites using our core methodology of providing high quality, nutritious meals to children when they need it the most. Of course, we can’t do this without your help.

Sign up to serve in the following cities:

Washington, D.C
Fairfax County
Southern California 


Ionian Village participates in the FOCUS Backpack Program to provide 500 backpacks to Homeless Children in Orlando.

With over 2 million homeless children in the United States, childhood poverty continues to be a focal point of FOCUS’ national programs. With the blessings that many of us have inherited from our youth, there is little question that children living without the proper equipment to receive an education need to be provided the resources, in order to break the cycle of poverty we see in many American communities.

Last week, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America’s Ionian Village held their annual summer camp reunion in Orlando, Florida and chose to include an aspect of service in the schedule, participating in the FOCUS Backpack Program. Officially launched in 2014, this program engages our volunteers throughout the United States by asking churches and groups to fill brand-new backpacks that are provided by us with school supplies. Through FOCUS partnerships, these backpacks are then donated to local children who are unable to afford these things on their own.

Campers from the Ionian Village program took time to learn about child homelessness in the Orlando area, and then filled 500 backpacks with school supplies. The backpacks were donated to the Homeless Education Department of the Orange County Public Schools, which serves the greater area of Orlando, Florida. This department works with homeless children in their district to provide them with the educational, social, and physical resources they need to perform academically, while often living in traumatic circumstances.

According to an article published in the Orlando Sentinel in March, 2015, “Nearly one-fifth of all homeless public-school students across the state now live in Orange, Osceola or Seminole counties…With only a tenth of the state’s total population, the tri-county area identified more than 13,700 homeless students last year — including families doubled up with relatives, living in motels, staying in shelters, sleeping in cars and camping in the woods.”

We thank all of our partners as we to work together to combat the ever-flowing tide of childhood poverty in our nation.

If your church or group is interested in participating in the Backpack Program please contact our office at 866-267-3083 or email JavaScript required to view address.


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Follow us on Social Media

FOCUS North America is live on multiple social media platforms. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Follow us to stay up to date with all the FOCUS news,  and learn how you can get involved with future programs.


New video release from FOCUS’ partner charity: Renovation Angel

We are proud to be the 2016 charitable partner of Renovation Angel!

Renovation Angel is a 501(c)3 non-profit which states their charitable mission as:

a) Creating Jobs – The white-glove removal, transportation, and resale of these items creates numerous construction, logistics, and retail jobs as these items are prepared for re-purposing.

b) Protecting the Earth – Recycling luxury kitchens, bath fixtures, home furnishings, and architectural elements diverts millions of pounds from landfills.

c) Supporting high quality non-profit outreach programs – Proceeds earned from selling recycled luxury creates support for innovative and life-changing outreach programs in the areas of: at-risk youth, addiction recovery, job creation, and social entrepreneurship.


Check out this new video to get a better idea Renovation Angel does, and how they are partnering with FOCUS North America to move individuals from lives of dependency to self-sufficiency!



14 DAYS LEFT to support YES buy buying a shirt!

With grateful hearts, we ask you for your prayers and support for the YES ministry. We hope to host at least 25 trips, and to double the number of students we are able to train up as service leaders. With your help, we will be able to provide scholarships for youth that are not able to afford the YES weekend trip registration fee of $150, and grow our new College Day and Family Day programs. Your gifts will also make it possible for us to meet the needs of the people we serve all over North America. The greatest gift you can give the YES Program is to spread the word about this vital ministry.

You can purchase your shirt here

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Renovation Angel makes donation at FOCUS Pittsburgh Gala

This past Thursday evening, FOCUS Pittsburgh hosted “The Light on the Hill celebration” at the Heinz History Center in downtown Pittsburgh. It was a wonderful night and there was an amazing turn out of support. One of the biggest moments of the night was receiving a $20,000 donation from Renovation Angel. FOCUS North America is honored to be Renovation Angel’s 2016 charitable partner!  

You can read the story here.