United Way KFLA hosting annual Backpack Program

With the latest school year in the books, it is never too early to think about supporting students for the upcoming school year. Going back to school comes with lots of excitement and anticipation; it can also be an anxious and stressful time for many families on low-income as they do their best to set their children up for success.

The Backpack Program is coordinated through 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.

In 2023, thanks to the community’s generosity and support, 1,100 children and youth started the school year with supplies and backpacks.

“We are so thankful to United Way and our community for the backpacks filled with school supplies for children headed back to school,” said a representative from Kingston Interval House. “We immediately handed them out and one mom was very teary-eyed when getting hers and so grateful.”

It is estimated that for basic supplies (a backpack, lunch bag, binders, pens, pencils, and a calculator), the cost per student ranges from $200 to $300 for school supplies. With rising costs and inflation, the need for support is expected to be high again this year.

“Costs are high, and we know that many individuals and families in KFL&A are struggling to make ends meet,” said John DiPaolo, President and CEO, United Way KFL&A. “We are asking our community to support each other and help children and youth. It may be as simple as picking up a few extra items when you do your own shopping or making a monetary donation. However you choose to give, you will be helping children and families start the school year off right.”

Once supplies are collected, volunteers will start packing backpacks mid-August for distribution through agencies and schools before the new school year begins.

The most needed school supplies include backpacks, lunch bags, scientific calculators, math sets, pens, pencils, rulers, markers, crayons, and pencil cases. Gender-neutral colours are encouraged wherever possible.

For a full list of recommended items by age group, or to donate monetarily, community members can visit www.unitedwaykfla.ca/backpackprogram.

Items can be dropped off at:
United Way office – 417 Bagot Street
Monday to Friday from 8:30am -4:30pm
until August 16, 2024

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