Students Start School off Right with Best First Day

by chrismcgregor
Categories: Divisional News

Back to school might still be a month away, but for Best First Day partner organizations, including The Salvation Army, preparation starts early to give students the tools to succeed in class.

Best First Day is a London-wide community backpack drive in partnership with the Thames Valley Education Foundation, The Salvation Army London Community and Family Services, and United Way Elgin Middlesex.

This year’s goal is to collect and fill more than 4,000 backpacks for students in London, Elgin, Middlesex, and Oxford counties. Ongoing financial struggles brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic means not all students will be properly prepared when class returns this September.

“We expect the need is going to be greater than in the last two years and it’s more important than ever to support students and empower them to have a successful start of school. We really want to give everyone the chance to be successful,” says Rebecca Thiessen, Integrated Missions Manager with The Salvation Army London Community and Family Services.

The Salvation Army in London also supports the partnership by picking up donations and dropping off backpacks at the various schools in London using a Salvation Army vehicle, making it easier for people to donate and simpler for schools to receive backpacks.

“The consequences of COVID-19 are still very widespread and very real to families needing to provide back to school supplies. When a family needs to decide between paying rent for a month or buying their children new shoes or backpacks, that’s a very real struggle,” Rebecca says.

Donations of gender-neutral backpacks are needed, as they are easier to distribute to students. Lunch bags, binders, water bottles, scientific calculators, pens and pencils are also needed to support students.

Backpacks can be donated at numerous locations in London, including The Salvation Army Hillcrest Community Church until September 2, 2022. Visit for a full list of items, ways to donate, and information on joining a volunteer packing session.