The Outreach Centre and the United Way of Central Alberta are joining forces for the Tools for Schools program, a program to help collect and distribute school supplies for families across Central Alberta who can’t afford materials for their children in Kindergarten to Grade 12.
Darcy Ouellet, fund development officer of The Outreach Centre, said it’s been tougher this year with collecting donations.
“We’re still feeling the effects from last year because donations were a little low last year. A lot of times at the end of the season we get a lot of donations and they carry us over to get started, which we didn’t see last year, so we started on a low end.”
Ouellet said this year there is a need for binders, markers, pencil crayons, white glue, glue sticks and duo tangs and backpacks.
Last year over 2,000 backpacks were filled with basic school supplies for kids going to school.
“We want these kids that are going back to school to have everything that they need to succeed. Whether they’re an immigrant family, a family that’s not able to make ends meet, a lot of these families are living paycheque to paycheque and if you have three kids, where does an extra $300 or $400 come from for these kids to go back to school?” Said Ouellet
And although the backpacks won’t be 100 per cent full, he said they fill them to about 75 per cent of what the families need.
“It depends what schools they’re going to because every school needs something a little bit different. If we can take care of the majority of it and they’ve got to put $20 or $30 versus $150 into it, it’s going to help them out to make sure these kids can succeed in school and have the same stuff that everybody else is going to school with as well.”
To donate, people can go online at www.womensoutreach.ca. There is also drop off locations at both Staples locations, Walmart locations and the food court at Parkland Mall.
For donations made at the Parkland Mall Staples, 100 per cent of those donations go directly to the program, while the Staples at Gasoline Alley gives a portion of the proceeds to the program.
“They divide it up to some schools and some different agencies as well.”