As unique as the upcoming school year promises to be, the need to help less fortunate students remains the same.
To help offset that demand, the Napanee Salvation Army is once again holding its annual Backpack Campaign. They’re currently accepting donations of essential school supplies, which they will distribute to low income families in need.
This year figures to be an especially challenging one for students in a variety of ways.
“When kids are in school the schools have the ability to step in and fill in some of the gaps in supplies to some extent,” said Napanee Salvation Army community service director Abby Mills. “If the kids are restricted to learning online and working at home, they’re limited to the resources they have available which in low income vulnerable homes, may not be very much.”
Mills says she expects to see more families requiring help in 2020 as well. Last year they helped 195 kids. She’s been proactive since last September, stocking up on supplies whenever she spots a good offseason sale. The supplies are then put together in a package that corresponds with a particular grade.
“It’s a year where parents may have much more limited resources than they would normally have if they’ve been laid off from their job or even had their employer close,” said Mills. “They’re going to be scrambling.”
Access to education is critical to help end the cycle of poverty. Kids who don’t have the basic supplies are at risk of falling even further behind the rest of the class.
“Without the essentials they need to do well in school, whether it’s calculators, math sets, paper even, they can’t succeed or they’ll certainly be limited to what they’re able to do,” said Mills.
Anyone looking to donate can drop off money or supplies to the Salvation Army, located at 82 Richard St. in Napanee. They’re looking for basics such as backpacks, pens, pencils, markers, paper and calculators.
Anyone in need of help with school supplies can call the Salvation Army at 613-354-7633 or register through their school.