United Way KFL&A seeking school supplies

With back to school drawing nearer for elementary and high school students, United Way Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington will be collecting backpacks and assorted school supplies from the community to help support students in the area.

The Annual Backpack Program kicked off this week with United Way collecting monetary donations as well as backpacks and school supplies to help children in low income families get a positive start to the upcoming school year. 

A news release from United Way says that in 2021, donations towards the program helped equip over 1,700 school aged children with backpacks and school supplies. 

While a seemingly simple thing for many, the well equipped bags really do make a difference to families who are increasingly faced with difficult decisions on what they can and cannot buy.

“We are so thankful to United Way and our community for the backpacks filled with school supplies for children headed back to school,” said a representative from Kingston Interval House via news release. 

“We immediately handed them out and one mom was very teary-eyed when getting hers and so grateful.”

United Way KFL&A President and CEO Bhavana Varma says due to the pandemic and rising costs, the need throughout the community is even further exacerbated this year.

“We know through conversations with agencies and the schools that the needs are greater than any previous year,” said Varma.

“We are asking our amazing community to come together once again to help children and youth. It may be as simple as picking up a few extra pieces when you do your own shopping, or a financial donation or the donation of supplies or backpacks – you will help so many children and families start the school year off right.”

The release notes that the most needed items include backpacks, lunch bags, pens, pencils, rulers, math sets, markers, crayons, scientific calculators and pencil cases. 

Donations will be collected at the United Way office at 417 Bagot Street from Monday to Friday until August 12, after which volunteers will pack bags for distribution. 

Story by Owen Fullerton, YGK News, for the Local Journalism Initiative