Helping Students Return to the Classroom

by British Columbia
Categories: Blog, Community, COVID-19

Helping Students Return to the Classroom

September marks the start of the school year, and with all the changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought and continues to bring, the need for support for families who struggle with the additional costs of school preparation is even greater.

Although when the school year started the province was still working out what a full return to the classroom would look like, students still needed supplies, backpacks, and for those who are taking part in virtual classes from home there was need for technology to keep up with their peers.

Throughout British Columbia many of our locations host an annual Back to School Fair, handing out supplies to students in need. However pandemic restrictions meant the distribution had to be adjusted this year to maintain safety. Read below to see how The Salvation Army helped kids to return to school this year in several different cities …

In Abbotsford, The Salvation Army Centre of Hope partnered with Country 107.1, Zacharias & Vickers LLP, GM-Abbotsford, Tim Horton’s, and Heart to Heart Education Committee to organize a Back to School Drive-Through that helped over 140 students get ready for the school year. This included backpacks full of school supplies along with $50 food gift cards to help with packed lunches.


Changing things up from their usual Back to School Fair, Boundless Vancouver prepared 500 backpacks, generously donated by the Donnelly Fund and Herschel Supply Co. Filled with school supplies, these bags were given to families in need. And their COVID friendly pick up window came in handy for distribution time.


Expecting a large increase in demand with the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows communities, Ridge Meadows Ministries partnered again this year with their local Staples, gathering backpacks and supplies for 500 students. Families registered online and students were able to pick up their new supplies at school during their first week of classes. Additionally, to support secondary school students who are taking online courses this year 70 laptops were donated and will be given to select families recommended by the School District.


After hearing a church in the community was no longer able to support the same number of families this year due to lack of resources, The Salvation Army Kelowna Ministries worked with their local Staples, to nearly double their efforts this year, reaching close to 200 students. With special focus on middle and high school-aged students, specific supplies such as zipper binders were organized, and through appointments they were able to assess any additional need for food and clothing.

One parent shared, “It took a financial weight off my shoulders, as a single mom I sometimes struggle to afford nice stuff. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”


Gateway of Hope in Langley recruited an army of volunteers to help with the delivery of school supplies. To ensure ease and the health and well-being of the families in need, 40 drivers were organized to make contactless home deliveries.

Working with local churches (Christian Life Assembly, Village Church and Southgate Church) they distributed nearly 700 backpacks, up from 450 last year.


Kamloops Salvation Army wanted to help give students a boost of confidence before returning to the classroom and hosted free haircuts with First Choice Haircutters. One student said, “this haircut means a lot and helps me look forward to the school year a little more”.


Because of the generosity and support from donors like you, we continue to provide a head start to the school year for families and young students in need. Thank you for Giving Hope Today … and every day.

To learn more about how you can support The Salvation Army click here.