The bank has worked with Volunteers of America to give children living in homeless shelters in New York, Chicago and San Francisco the supplies they need for the classroom. As well as the money, 155 HSBC employees gave more than 842 hours of their time to sort and distribute 398 backpacks filled with new stationery, pens and other equipment. It is the second year in a row that HSBC has been the main corporate sponsor of the scheme.

Having a full backpack helps children living in homeless shelters to look and feel more like their classmates.

Rachel Weinstein, Volunteers of America – Greater New York Chief Development and Communications Officer, said: “The children living in shelters have very chaotic lives typically and very often they don't get anything new. No child should have to worry about whether they're going to school with supplies or not. But as long as they do, at least we're here to fill that need.”

The backpacks are filled with school equipment according to the child’s grade. A high schooler will get a dictionary, a thesaurus and a calculator along with the other usual school supplies. The younger children will receive a box of crayons, a watercolour paint set and all the other stationery they will need for the classroom. All ages receive a toothbrush and toothpaste1.

Operation Backpack was founded in New York in 2001 and has spread to nine Volunteers of America partners across the US.

HSBC invests USD50 million a year in education projects around the world and thousands of employees volunteer to help.