CWS Welcome Backpacks

In the coming months, tens of thousands of refugees will make their way to the United States after years of waiting. They will have the opportunity to join family members and communities as they restart and rebuild their lives. CWS also welcomes asylum seekers at the U.S. southern border by partnering with 17 border shelters. These shelters receive asylum seekers released from Border Patrol or ICE, providing them with food and shelter and arranging transportation for them to reunite with their families.

Often, refugees or asylum seekers come with few material possessions - and we will be there to welcome them into their new communities. CWS Welcome Backpacks are a new part of the process - providing unaccompanied minors and families with the essentials for their transition: food and water, children’s activities, a blanket, basic hygiene items, and PPE.

You can help extend welcome by assembling backpacks or sponsoring a backpack to be assembled.

How to Assemble, Pack and Ship a Welcome Backpack

1.  Purchase the items

  • Backpack - 17"
  • All-season blanket - 50" x 60"
  • Coloring book
  • Crayons - 24 pack
  • 2 pads of paper - 8.5" x 11"
  • 3 pens
  • 1 two-pocket folder

In a gallon-size ziploc:

  • 5 fruit leather strips
  • 4 protein bars
  • 10 granola bars
  • 6 fruit & grain bars
  • 4 trail mix pouches - 1.75 oz
  • 1 reusable travel water bottle - 24 oz

In a 2.5 gallon-size ziploc:

  • 2 bottles hand sanitizer - 2 oz
  • 1 Chapstick
  • 10 hair ties
  • 1 small travel hairbrush
  • 4 toothpaste/toothbrush packs
  • 3 packs of tissues
  • 10 disposable masks
  • 1 travel deodorant
  • 10 tampons
  • 10 sanitary napkins
  • 1 pack of cleaning/baby wipes

2.  Pack the backpack and complete the forms

  • All items need to fit inside their respective ziploc bags. Remove the excess air from the bags and seal before placing them in backpack.
  • Download and complete this Backpack Shipping Form. Complete both halves of the form and include them with your backpack shipment. Please include a check payable to "Church World Service", with $3.00 per backpack, to help cover a small amount of the processing costs at our warehouse. You can also pay the processing fees online here if you prefer.
  • Please do not include cash bills or coins with backpacks.

3.  Ship the backpack

Ship the CWS Welcome Backpack prepaid to:

28606 Phillips Street
Elkhart, IN 46514

Value: $75.00

No time to build and ship backpacks?

You can donate online for backpacks to be assembled!


Contact us and we'll be glad to help!