Salvation Army Brings Backpacks to Families in Need

by larisa
Categories: Hope stories, News
Share:

    Starting a new school year can make students feel excited, anxious, relieved, and many other emotions. Although this year’s back-to-school experience will be entirely different, those experiencing poverty, including 560,000 Canadian children, face even more stressors this season.

    Nationwide, many children from low or fixed-income households will be without proper school supplies because their parents cannot afford to equip them. Across the country, Salvation Army backpack programs are giving hope to families in need. “Many families have experienced financial instability since the pandemic hit earlier this year”

    Every year in Calgary, The Salvation Army’s Community and Family Services provides approximately 1,000 backpacks filled with supplies for children from low-income families, no matter which grade.

    “Many families have experienced financial instability since the pandemic hit earlier this year,” says Karen Livick, executive director for Calgary Centre of Hope. “We’re seeing an increasing number of new families finding themselves in greater financial need after having parents out of work for several months now.”

    For the past 15 years, an area was set up for youth to “shop” for their backpack and supplies, to give them the dignity of picking out their items. However, this year, backpacks were pre-packed with items specific to each grade. Families registered online to receive their supplies safely at one of four drive-up distribution locations.

    With the help of local partners, The Salvation Army has assisted 1,006 children from 467 families.

    At The Salvation Army’s Light of Hope Family Church in Montreal, volunteers prepared and distributed 150 backpacks to local low-income households as they got ready for the school year.

    “The school supplies were categorized by age and distributed in late August,” says Larisa Chris, public relations Assistant in Quebec.

    “We’re seeing an increasing number of new families finding themselves in greater financial need”

    Quebec’s warehouse volunteers prepared 1,400 backpacks with pencils, pens, binders, and other supplies—relieving the stress experienced by vulnerable families.

     In Vancouver, given the extraordinary times, a few changes were made to their back-to-school fair. Like Calgary, they changed from allowing families to choose from an array of supplies to pre-packed bags with several essential school items.

    “The anxiety of not being able to afford school supplies is stressful,” says Prathiksha Jain, community relations coordinator. “We meet them halfway to relieve that stress and help students get what they need to do the best they can.

    “Thanks to our sponsors, partners and donors coming together and working with us,” continues Prathiksha. “We can continue to bring hope and a sense of community to struggling families.”