Back to school season is here; this time of year comes with lots of excitement and anticipation, but it can also be an anxious and stressful time for many families as they do their very best to set their young students up for success.
That is where the Backpack Campaign comes in. Organized by the Social Issues Networking Group (SING) with support from the United Way KFL&A and various other community businesses and organizations, the program works to ensure that families and children have all they need for another successful school year.
This year marks the 19th annual Backpack Campaign and with no full-time staff, more than 40 volunteers of all ages work to ensure the campaign runs smoothly. During the one day event, each student is partnered with a volunteer as they make their way through the maze of school supplies finding what they need. The process is meant to simulate a shopping experience and supplies are laid out according to the needs of each grade.
Tanis Fairley, a retired elementary school principal and one of the program’s organizers, has been with the Backpack Campaign since it began. She said it allows students to associate a fresh start with the new school year.
“For kids who struggle in life, you want to do whatever little thing you can to help them,” she said. “And it might be as easy as a backpack of school supplies. It might be as easy as a lunchbox.”
The campaign runs for just one day, this year on August 14, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in order to provide access to those working hourly jobs and may work morning or evening shifts and the campaign works to make the location (Crossroads United Church) accessible to those who may be travelling by public transportation.
Last year nearly 1,000 individuals received supplies through the campaign.
Read more about the Backpack Campaign here.