For immediate release

Backpack Program encourages community members to help set students up for success
United Way asking for donations of backpacks, school supplies and funds to help families with low-incomes in KFL&A

KINGSTON, ON (July 27, 2021) It’s hard to believe, but 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 Program comes in. Coordinated by the United Way KFL&A with donations from individuals, community businesses and organizations, the program distributes backpacks and school supplies to ensure that families and children have all they need for a successful school year.

“One of the most important things for children on the first day of the school year, after what they’re wearing, is what kind of backpack they’re carrying. We want them all to feel special and proud of their school supplies. It’s important to them,” said Tanis Fairley, longtime coordinator of the Backpack . “We have to remember how long it’s been since they were actually at school and how excited they are about going back.”

As a result of the pandemic, the traditional Backpack Program – where families are invited to come fill a backpack with supplies in person – is unable to run, however, the demand for supplies is higher than ever.

“As we did with the Day of Caring this year, we are asking our amazing community to come together to help people,” said Bhavana Varma, President and CEO, United Way KFL&A. “These supplies help so many children and families.  After a year of uncertainty and disruption, the hope is that this program can help them start the school year off right, whether virtual or in-person.”

For a full list of recommended items by age group, community members can visit  If possible, gender neutral colours are encouraged.

Generous donations have already been received from various businesses and donations of funds or supplies from community members who want to show their local love are welcome at the United Way office –  417 Bagot Street (back entrance) Monday to Friday from 8:30am -4:30pm until August 13, 2021.  We will continue to receive donations into early September and will start packing backpacks mid-August.

Donors can also visit and indicate in the box that they’d like funds directed to the Backpack Program.

And those who wish to arrange a pickup of items can contact

About The Backpack Program
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 worked for 19 years to ensure that families and children have all they need for another successful school year.

In 2020, with COVID-19 restrictions in place, United Way KFL&A took on the Backpack Program, collecting supplies from community members, workplaces and businesses. As a result, more than 1,300 backpacks and over 6,000 school supply items were distributed locally through agencies and school boards.

About United Way KFLA
United Way works with individuals, organizations and key partners across all sectors to build and strengthen our community bringing people and resources together to meet immediate needs and facilitate change. Our vision is a future where people are self-sufficient in a community where individuals live with hope, dignity and a sense of belonging.
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Media Contact:
Mandy Pasch, Manager, Marketing & Communications
United Way KFL&A