Volunteers were busy this morning filling backpacks to make sure area students get their school year off on the right foot.
Learning Foundation volunteers and staff will be busy sorting through pens, pencils, crayons, lunch bags, etc., as they organize and pack for the Good Backpack Program.
The purpose of the program is to ensure that all children and youth have the opportunity to participate completely in their education, regardless of their family’s financial status or means.
Maribeth deSnoo, the Executive Director of The Hastings and Prince Edward Learning Foundation says they will spend the day packing 500 backpacks for elementary and secondary school students.
She says this opens the door for principals and staff to connect with those students who may need a helping hand.
The Learning Foundation took over this event from the United Way a few years ago.
School principals have said: “I have many large families that live on income assistance and these children would go without if there wasn’t a Good Backpack Program in our school. The families are thrilled to receive these backpacks with school supplies inside.”
“This is an amazing program that is needed by many families. It helps close the equity gap in our school. These kids are able to come to school feeling proud of their new supplies and backpacks.”
Schools in communities of greater need will receive a supply of backpacks in advance of the school year to assist students. This is done quietly and confidentially, and staff may have had conversations with families and students at the end of the last school year to let them know that support would be provided.
In schools where backpacks have not been provided in advance, students can still access a backpack through discussion with school staff. These discussions can be quiet and confidential.
Major sponsors of the program are The Belleville Senators, Staples, CLAC-Building Communities Together (Local Fire Fighters), and the United Way of Hastings and Prince Edward.