Thanks to generous donations from the Saskatoon community, the Salvation Army stuffed nearly 600 backpacks with brand new school supplies this year.
“We have a big private donor and we have Millennium Group who donates money for this program so I had roughly $30,000 to spend on this program this year,” said Laurie Gerein, director of family services with the Salvation Army Saskatoon.
Gerein said this program has turned into a huge undertaking after the non-profit began receiving significant funding for its school-supply program.
“When I started about five years ago, I did 75. That was my max then we got the big donors, and I was able to go up to 500 last year, and the year before that I got around 300 (backpacks filled),” she said.
Volunteers also play a huge role in the program, collecting new supplies including everything from pencils, binders, dictionaries and even USB memory sticks. Of the 593 backpacks filled ahead of the 2015-2016 school-year, 300 backpacks were stuffed for children from low-income families and 293 were for kids from families relying on social assistance.
“We’re trying to hit more low-income working people because people on assistance are given an allowance from the government, but they still struggle if they have a lot of kids. So, we do the working-poor first and then we top it off with people who are on assistance,” Gerein said, adding around eight backpacks went to children living outside the city.
Backpacks were picked up on Aug. 20.