Going back to school is an exciting time for kids, but can be stressful for parents struggling to pay for school fees and supplies. The Salvation Army is there to help by providing backpacks and/or school supplies to children through programs in Calgary, Edmonton, Peace River, and Wetaskiwin.
In Calgary, the Barbara Mitchell Family Resource Centre hosted a “Back to School Fair” on August 7 to kick off the distribution of over 1200 back packs to students across the city. “This is the first year that we have hosted a fair in conjunction with our backpack program,” stated Karen Livick, Executive Director of Community Services Calgary. “We have staff available to answer questions and assist with school fee waiver forms, we have a school bus parked outside so children can get on and check it out, and we are talking with children and parents about creating a healthy school routine that includes exercise, healthy lunches, and proper sleep.” The fair was a busy place filled with smiling parents and kids who were happy and excited about returning to school with a new backpack.
Community & Family Services in Edmonton held their backpack pick-up day on August 26. Kids, along with their parents, were invited to pick out the supplies that they needed, rather than getting a pre-determined package that may not fit their needs. Tables were filled with backpacks, pencils, calculators, binders, pencil crayons, socks, hair accessories, notebooks, even alarm clocks, for student to select from. “This is the first year we’ve set it up this way, and the response was great,” said Executive Director, Major Carolyn Hale. “Right now we have 295 families registered to come and pick up school supplies.” Sally Ann was also there to greet the kids and give out hugs and high-fives and there was a hot dog lunch and snacks available to add to the festivities.
The Salvation Army back to school backpack programs exist to ensure every child has all the supplies they need, regardless of financial situation. Going to school fully prepared gives kids confidence, and the right start to a successful school year. Thank you to everyone who made our backpack days a success!